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Te Reo Māori lessons for health staff

Bay of Plenty District Health Board (BOPDHB) staff and their whānau have the opportunity to learn te reo Māori on-site thanks to a new initiative to grow the use and quality of te reo me ōnā tikanga within the DHB and its communities.

The joint initiative between BOPDHB, Te Rūnanga Hauora Māori o Te Moana ā Toi and Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi was officially launched at Whakatāne Hospital earlier this week.

About 400 staff have expressed interest in learning te reo and tikanga Māori since the opportunity was raised earlier this year.

Classes are due to start in mid-September with sessions at both Whakatāne and Tauranga hospitals.

BOPDHB General Manager Māori Health Gains and Development Tricia Keelan, who is a passionate advocate for te reo says, "he rongoā tö te reo; ko te wawata, ka rongo i te reo Māori e rere nei I ngā tari me ngā kapa o te DHB, hei reo whakahaere I ngā mahi, hei rongoā hoki mo ngā kaimahi me ngā whānau.

E ai kī a Tā Hemi Henare, "Ko te reo te mauri o te mana Māori." That is to say, "The Māori language is the life force of Māori power and authority." “This is part of our new Te Toi Ahorangi 2030 Toi Ora Strategy, setting a clear direction based on our ancestral knowledge and wisdom."

Awanuiārangi Head of Undergraduate Studies, Professor Vaughan Bidois congratulated the BOPDHB for taking this step and embracing te reo, giving staff the opportunity to learn the language and to link this to Māori health gains.

“By linking te reo Māori with hauora Māori (Māori health) we think we can make a tangible contribution to Māori health gains.”

He says offering Te Reo lessons for staff is one way to disrupt in a productive way, “to do things differently to benefit our whānau.”

Te Pōkaitahi Reo is offered at no financial cost and designed to build confidence and capability in the Māori language; this bespoke programme has been created within a health context. Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi is also running the courses at Auckland, Waitematā and Counties-Manukau District Health Boards and a corporate version with Marsh Insurances in Auckland.

The course involves four papers at three months each, with a mixture of self-directed, online, and face-to-face weekly classes. The graduate profile denotes that students will be able to have a general conversation (korero Māori) upon completion at Level 3. Any queries can be directed to

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