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  • Taylor Terekia

I nearly lost my reo and now I want to help normalise it in today's world - OHOOHO [intro]

Tekau mā toru tōku pakeke i taku wehenga i te kura kaupapa Māori. I hūnuku tēnei purapura o Te Aho Matua ki tētahi takiwā rerekē kia puawai ai i roto i tētahi kura auraki. He ao hōu, he ao hangarau, he ao i whāngai i tōku hiakai ki te mātauranga.


I waihō ngā kaupapa o te kura kaupapa Māori pēnei ki te reo rangatira, te raranga, te whakairo, te aha atu, te aha atu. I uru au ki ngā karaihe pēnei ki te tuitui, te ᶜᵒᵐᵖᵘᵗⁱⁿᵍ, te ꜱᴘᴀɴɪꜱʜ… with all ɬɧɛʂɛ ŋɛῳ subjects i hinga atu taku reo Māori.


🄼🅈 hiakai to try i ēnei opportunities my kura kaupapa didn't have led to an 𝔞BsE𝓃𝒸乇 of wāhi ki te kōrero, learn and ̶͓̱͒i̷̘͍̋m̷̨̱̿̂p̶̮͝ṛ̶̩̎̀ỏ̵̟v̴̤̊͗e̵̳͘ tōku reo.


Aue, arohamai. There's been a bit of a glitch. Back to the story.


One year into mainstream schooling, at 14 years old, I felt immense whakamā.


I had lost my reo.


Like, huh? I didn’t know that was even possible!?


I didn’t lose all of my reo of course. But vocabulary, sentences, bloody macrons, my mind went blank from one single year of disuse. As I was boarding at the time, I had no one to speak te reo to regularly. When I went home for school holidays, my teina who were still in kura kaupapa would hold conversations that I could barely follow anymore.


So it turns out, you can be raised in te reo Māori and still lose it just like that.


10 years on, rua tekau mā whā tōku pakeke ināianei, ā, kua kaha anō tōku reo. Ahakoa tonu, he hiahia nōku kia whakapakari ake!


I don’t regret leaving kura kaupapa and moving to the mainstream because all the taonga I gained from both learning environments make me who I am today.


It has also lit a fire under my ass to never lose my reo as much as I did then.


For most Māori, it’s not easy finding time and space, or even a friend, to use reo on the daily. This is a huge challenge for many of us regardless of where we live and where our reo journey started.


Weekly night classes don’t work for all of us.

That Māori Made Easy book you bought years ago is collecting dust.

At some point you stop seeing those labels you stuck all over your kitchen.

What are we to do in this reo Pākehā dominated world to keep our reo Māori alive and reclaim this taonga for ourselves?


WELL, nau mai ki tēnei rangitaki hōu, welcome to this new column OHOOHO.


OHOOHO is all about inserting te reo into our everyday lives. I want to highlight the innovative ways Māori are normalising te reo in todays world, and making it accessible to more Māori by planting it in new spaces beyond the traditional.


Ko tōku reo, tōku ohooho.


Nōreira e hika mā, e oho! Matike! Maranga! Mānawatia tō tātou reo Māori, tukuna ki te ao!


This will be a weekly column. Kia ū tonu mai!