This week we restarted the Kōrerotia te Reo class cycle at Week 1. Another fantastic turnout! Its so inspiring to see so many people, from all walks of life, showing interesting in Māori language. According to the official register, we had 40 people attend the class. On top of that, I received multiple apologies from those who were not able to attend last nights class but will be able to attend the next one. I am so happy with the support from this wonderful community of Tāhuna – Queenstown.
I would like to take this opportunity to tell a not-so-short story of the humble beginnings of our Kōrerotia te Reo group and Te Reo Māori class.
Back in the summer of 2018, a close friend of the Arrowtown community, Keith Crawford, was battling cancer. Keith had a passion for learning Te Reo, so, in secret, we formed a singing group (which would eventually become Waiatatia) to practice Keith’s favourite waiata and one sunny afternoon in 2018 we walked to Keith and Jeannie’s house to surprise the family with a performance. That was the catayst that brought our small community together under a Māori kaupapa.
Keith was one of many in the Arrowtown/Queenstown community who were enrolled in the Te Ara Reo Māori course at SIT, where I was also the teachers aide. One problem that the SIT Reo Māori course always had, was offering pathways past Level 4 (Year 2). Without regular practice, all learnings were easily lost. So as a group we decided that once the level 4 course completed, we would continue to learn and practice on our own. Thus the Kōrerotia te Reo class was born.
Two of our group, Kathleen Brentwood and Jeanette Horn were teachers at Arrowtown school and so they offered the use of their classroom, and on Thursday 1st March 2018, we started the very first Kōrerotia te Reo class.
Over then next few years, the class has gone from strength to strength. At first we were based in Arrowtown, then we moved to Abbeyfield in Frankton to reach more people in the region, and eventually, through the support of Jess Payne at the Frankton Library, the class has eventually settled at the Frankton Library.
Our journey can be summed up with this well known Whakatauki (proverb):
Whāia te iti kahurangi, ki te tuohu koe, me he maunga teitei
Pursue that which is precious, if you have to bow your head, let it only be to a lofty mountain