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Unprecedented numbers at kura reo as popularity soars – Te Matawai

Kura reo are more popular than ever with Te Mātāwai supporting twice as many of these Māori language learning events in 2023/24 than in the last financial year.

Te Mātāwai leads Māori language revitalisation in communities and has invested in about 61 kura reo across Aotearoa this financial year 2023/2024 compared with 29 kura reo held in 2022/23.

Four kura reo took place this month alone; Te Kura Reo o Waimārama in Hawke’s Bay, Kura Reo Kāi Tahu in Canterbury, Te Kura Reo ki Ngāti Awa in Whakatāne, and Te Taumata ki Te Hiku o te Ika in the Far North.

An average of 100 people attend each kura reo which means thousands are benefitting from boosting their reo proficiency, activating its use, or getting their ‘reo fix’ in an immersion setting.

Te Mātāwai Tumu Whakarae (CE) Poia Rewi says despite government plans to reduce Māori language use in the public service, the hunger for Māori immersion learning in Māori communities keeps growing. Māori and non-Māori appear driven to use even more reo, as if in protest.

“When it comes to kura reo, securing a spot is now as competitive as buying a ticket for a sell-out gig – places go within minutes. It’s great so many people want to upskill in a kura reo environment, and our Pae Motuhake try to keep up with that investment demand in their regions each year.”

“This is a challenge, though, as our funding has hardly increased since our inception so 75% of kaupapa miss out. Te Mātāwai is still pursuing avenues to increase this investment fund. And benefits may come in forms other than money,” says Poia.

Poia says because kura reo do keep reaching capacity, Māori language champions are picking up the responsibility to host more.

“Nui ana te mihi ki ngā kaha puta i te motu e whakamomori nei, e manawa kaha nei ki te hiki i ngā kaupapa reo katoa nei. A big shout out to the spread of energy across the motu for their ongoing commitment to deliver these reo activities. Mean!” says Poia.

 

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