Waiatatia Performance – June 2021

Last weekend our waiata group – Waiatatia were requested to open the Wakatipu Music Festival at the Memorial Hall. It was a huge honour for our group to do the opening performance for such a renowned festival. By our own admission, our group members are not experienced singers or Kapa Haka performers. The pressure was ramped up on this occasion, when we were told that our performance would be Live Streamed on Radio New Zealand across the world. As nervous as we may have been, it was one of our proudest moments. Our performance began with a whakaeke of the waiata, Te Pū. A waiata that tells the creation story. Our next song was the first public performance of a new song written specifically for our group called He Manu Hou. The message of this song is that despite being early into our journey into Te Reo Māori, we understand how important the language is, summed up by the final lyrics: Ko te reo kia tika, ko te reo kia rere, ko te reo kia Māori. The language should be correct, the language should flow, the language should promote a Māori world view. We finished off with our group’s favourite action song – waiata-a-ringa: Ko te Waipounamu, where we paid respects to the mana whenua who support and nurture us here in the South Island – Te Waipounamu. He wheako mīharo – An amazing experience.

Kōrerotia Week1 – May 2021

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

The first Kōrerotia te Reo class in March 2018
Kōrerotia class at Abbeyfield in Frankton in March 2019
Delivering Kōrerotia te Reo classes via Zoom during Covid in 2020
Full house at Frankton Library last night – May 2021

Marae Noho Mutunga – May 2021

Last weekend was our last – of eight – noho marae for our Rōnakitanga class this year. This final noho marks the end of a year long course in learning Te Reo at level 5. I am so proud of the Tāhuna whānau and the indelible impression that they left on the other students and kaiako at Waihōpai – Invercargill. The Tāhuna and Waihōpai students put on a concert of waiata – Māori songs, to sign off a year of learning, fun and lifelong friendships.

This last noho was at Tomairangi Marae in Invercargill and we were treated to exceptional hospitality, especially at the hākari – feast – where some of Southlands finest delicacies were on offer. This included, Oysters, Kina and Tītī – muttonbird! He makue! He hunene! Delicious!

We all now look forward to our next adventure in learning Te Reo Māori. Wherever that may be!

Te whānau o Tāhuna, o Tīrau, o Papataitaha
Whānau time
Koha to our kaiako pāpā Rusty and to our kaiāwhina Lisa
Getting ready for the big concert

Kura Reo – April 2020

Last week I was honoured to attend a Kura Reo in Christchurch. A kura reo is a week long full immersion Māori language school facilitated by the prominent Māori language experts in NZ. Tā Tīmoti Karetu was present at the Kura Reo. Tā Tīmoti was one of the creators of Kura Reo and of Te Panekiretanga o te Reo – The highest level of Reo Māori achievement, so having him attend was a huge bonus.
Pānia Papa and Leon Blake who took over as Kaiako for Te Panekiretanga o te Reo were kaiako at the Kura Reo. Rangi Mataamua the prominent expert on Māori astronomy was a kaiako, so were TV Personality couple Scotty and Stacey Morrison. Kai Tahu dialect expert Hana O’Regan was another kaiako and the group was rounded off with an exceptional young woman who is also my own whanaunga – relative – Ruth Smith. Ruth is another graduate of Te Panekiretanga o te reo. While I have a long way to go on my own Te Reo journey, attending Kura Reo along side the highest exponents of the Māori language is truly an honour and the best opportunity for those wanting to pursue Te Reo Māori excellence. Nōku te whiwhi! I felt so lucky!

Me and Emily in front of the Wharenui of Tuahiwi Marae
Debate time with the kaiako judging panel looking on
Kaiako Leon Blake with Tā Tīmoti Karetu in attendance

Kōrerotia Class – Week 10 – April 2021

This week was the last week of the first 10 Week cycle for 2021.
The cycle finished with a wero – challenge – called Taku Kōrero – My story. For this exercise, each student constructs a story about either a pet or a member of the family. The story consists of sentence patterns learned throughout the previous 9 weeks.

Paulina, Alison, Larissa and Kathleen were the brave souls that were happy to recite their kōrero.

He Poho Kererū!

Citizenship Ceremony – April 2021

This week our Waiatatia group were honoured to be invited to sing Waiata at the Citizenship Ceremony at Memorial Hall. This was the first Citizenship Ceremony since the Covid Lock down last year, so it was an important day for a lot of people. Over 60 new citizens were welcomed to our beautiful country of Aotearoa.

Our first waiata, Te Pū, we performed as a haunting arcapella version as we moved into position in front of the stage. This waiata tells the creation story, from the nothing… to beginning of man-kind.

Our second waiata, Te iwi e, has been one of our main go-to waiata that we like to sing as a welcome to the event/hui.

Our last waiata, Ko te Waipounamu, is a song that recognises the local iwi and welcomes one and all to the beautiful South Island.

Ka nui aku mihi ki ngā manu tioriori o te rōpū Waiatatia. He reka rawa atu ō koutou reo waiata.

Harakeke Display – March 2021

Tēnā koutou e hika mā

The other weekend our Level 5 Te Reo Māori class had another noho marae at Invercargill. On the same weekend that we were in Invercargill, we were very fortunate that there was also a Raranga Harakeke (Flax weaving) exhibition on at the same time at the Mīharo gallery.

On display were the many taonga (treasures) weaved by Whaea Wini Solomon. Wini was there at the gallery with many of the other kai raranga (weavers) showcasing their exceptional talents. Our group was very humbled to mihi to Wini and the group, and to perform a number of action songs for them.

He kotuku rerenga tahi – A special occasion indeed

Library Class – 25 Feb 2021

Tēnā koutou,
Another great class at the Frankton Library this week. Really good interest again with lots of people attending both the absolute beginner and advance beginner class. Great engagement and interaction with a fantastic group of people. With the absolute beginner class we wrapped up the descriptive sentence pattern using DDT. The advanced beginner class was very tricky this week where we covered the topic of multiple possessives. We worked through the examples slowly, making sure to break down each of the tricky parts to eventually come to the right answers

All round another great class. Looking forward to the next one which will hopefully be a little easier.

Marae noho – 13 Feb 2021

Kia ora anō whānau mā,
So our level 5 Te Reo Māori class had another noho marae in Invercargill on the weekend just gone. Once again it was a fantastic time had. Lots of learning and laughs, facilitated by the wonderful kaimahi (staff) at Te Wānanga o Aotearoa at SIT.

There were many course assessments delivered at this noho. Fantastic pūrakau (stories) of tīpuna, stories about some of the waka that migrated here many hundreds of years ago, and lots of waiata and waiata-a-ringa. One of the highlights of this noho was how we all (in groups) came up with our own actions for the waiata – Matariki.

Cant wait for the next one!

Ngā mihi o te tau hou

Tēnā koutou e te whānau.
Hello to you all family.

Ngā mihi o te tau hou – Happy New Year 2021

The first class of the 10 week cycle started at the Frankton Library today. It was a fantastic turnout, with 35 people signing in for todays class!
It was great to meet all of the new people, and to see some familiar faces too. The coming weeks will be a little harder than todays session. But we will have fun along the way.

Also this week was our 3rd week back for our Level 5 Rōnakitanga class at the Remarkables Park SIT campus with Te Wānanga o Aotearoa. Great turn out for class this week – as always. And a minor technical glitch meant we got to practice kōrero by taking turns at answering the question: I aha koe i te wīkene? What did you do on the weekend?

Our level 5 class will be heading to Waihōpai – Invercargill this weekend for a noho marae – marae stay. This will be our 5th noho of the course. Stay tuned for more updates around the hāpori – community

Mā te wā – Til next time