Education Policy | Post Primary | Preschool | Primary | Tertiary | Search


Māori language programme celebrates 30 years

Pioneering Te Tohu Paetahi Māori language programme celebrates 30 years for Te Wiki o te Reo Māori

The University of Waikato’s pioneering total immersion Māori language programme, Te Tohu Paetahi, is celebrating 30 years since its establishment with more than 1600 students supported on their te reo Māori journey.

Te Tohu Paetahi has been a trailblazer for the revitalisation of te reo Māori since 1991, producing students from all walks of life including District Court Judge, Stephen Clark, Dr Reuben Collier MNZM, who started his career as a journalist at Waka Huia and went on to found Maui TV Productions, and Master Chef winners Karena and Kasey Bird.

Acting Dean for the University of Waikato’s Faculty of Māori and Indigenous Studies, Associate Professor Sandy Morrison, was part of the first cohort to complete the one-year course in 1991 and says it is unique in New Zealand.

Students enter the course at different levels of fluency from those that have very little knowledge of the language to those who are fluent speakers.

“It is an intensive course running 9am to 3pm, Monday to Friday every week. There are no other courses offered like it in universities around Aotearoa,” says Associate Professor Morrison.

“People come to the course for different reasons. For some it is for professional development including judges, lawyers and teachers who use it as a vehicle to engage more meaningfully with their clients, but it has a wider impact than that. We are helping to connect people back to their culture,” says Associate Professor Morrison.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor Māori, Dr Sarah-Jane Tiakiwai, says the increasing popularity of the course across both Hamilton and Tauranga campuses is testament to the foresight of those who established it 30 years ago.

“It’s a huge commitment for students, particularly those that have no language at all, but the way the course is delivered by experienced, committed and award winning teaching staff means it can bring all levels and people from all walks of life on their te reo journey.”

Associate Professor Morrison said the need and passion for learning te reo was increasing in New Zealand as people sought to reconnect with their culture or learn the indigenous language.

“Understanding te reo Māori is to widen one’s knowledge and understanding into a Māori world view and a New Zealand world view, which is a start to creating a more inclusive Aotearoa New Zealand.”

© Scoop Media

Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines


Howard Davis: Emerald Fennell's Promising Young Woman'

The Guardian needed not one, but three reviews to do justice to Fennell's unsettling approach, which indicates exactly how ambiguous and controversial its message really is. More>>

Howard Davis: Jill Trevelyan's Rita Angus

Although Angus has become one of Aotearoa’s best-loved painters, the story of her life remained little known and poorly understood before Jill Trevelyan's acclaimed and revelatory biography, which won the Non Fiction Award at the Montana New Zealand Book Awards in 2009, and has now been republished by Te Papa press. More>>

Howard Davis: The Back of the Painting

Painting conservators are the forensic pathologists of the art world. While they cannot bring their subjects back to life, they do provide fascinating insights into the precise circumstances of a painting's creation, its material authenticity, and constructive methodology. More>>

Howard Davis: Black Panthers on the Prowl

A passionate and gripping political drama from Shaka King, this is an informative and instructive tale of human frailty that centers around the charismatic Chicago Black Panther leader Fred Hampton, who was murdered at the age of twenty-one during a police raid. More>>

Howard Davis: Controlling the High Ground

Stephen Johnson's raw and angry film not only poses important questions with scrupulous authenticity, but also provides a timely reminder of the genocidal consequences of casual bigotry and xenophobia. More>>

Howard Davis: Dryzabone - Robert Conolly's The Dry

After the terrible devastation caused by last year’s bushfires, which prompted hundreds of Australians to shelter in the ocean to escape incineration and destroyed uncountable amounts of wildlife, The Dry has been released during a totally different kind of dry spell. More>>

Howard Davis: Hit the Road, Jack - Chloé Zhao's Nomadland

Nomadland is perhaps the ultimately 'road' movie as it follows a group of dispossessed and disenfranchised vagabonds who find a form of communal refuge in camp sites and trailer parks after the economic contraction of 2008. More>>



  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Auckland