Kei āku whetū, kei āku manu taki, kei āku hunga tiaki, ko koutou ngā pou, ngā kaitohutohu o tōku ao. Kei āku toka tū i te moana, tē mutu te aroha i a koutou rā.
Nei rā āku mihi.
Ko te reo Māori, koinei te reo e tāpiripiri mai i te rongo reka ki ōku taringa.
Mōku ake, ko te reo Māori me te reo Pākehā ōku reo tuatahi. Heoi, i tōku tau tuaono, ka mate tōku māmā, ka ngaro noa. I ngaro tōku tūhononga ki te ao Māori, ki te reo Māori me ōna tikanga. I te tau rua mano tekau mā toru, i rapua ahau e tōku whaea (mā puka mata), koirā te tīmatanga o tōku hokinga atu ki te ao Māori.
Ka hoki atu ana ahau ki te ūkaipō, taku rongo ana i te reo Māori, engari, tē mārama i a ahau. Ka kōrero paki ana aku whanaunga, ka kataina e ahau. Heoi, kāore ahau i mōhio ki te nuinga o ā rātou kōrero. He reo nō te kāinga tō rātou reo, i taku kore mōhio ka patu ahau e te whakamā. Otirā, i tērā wā, ka pōhēhē, tē taea e ahau te reo Māori te ako.
Tae atu ana ahau ki Te Whare Wānanga, i takahia e ahau ngā ara o te mātauranga pūtaiao me te mātai hinengaro. I tērā wā, kāore ōku pīrangi ki te ako i te reo Māori ki Ōtepoti.
Ahakoa tērā, i whakamanawatia ahau e ētahi hoa ki te whai i te reo Māori, ki te hapai i te mahi kapa haka, ā, ki te ako hoki i ngā mahi a te ahurea Māori. Heoi, ka patua tonutia ahau e te whakamā.
Engari, i te wāhanga tuarua o te tau rua mano, tekau mā whitu, i uru ai ahau ki te karaehe o MAOR110, arā, koirā te tīmatanga o tōku hokinga ki te reo Māori.
Ināianei, koinei tāku tau tuarima e ako ana i te reo Māori, e nonoke tonu ana kia mārama ki te nuinga o te wetereo, ā, he uaua mōku te whakatinana i tēnei whakataukī “ko te reo kia tika, ko te reo kia rere, ko te reo kia Māori.”
Ahakoa tērā, hei ngā wā hoki anō ai ahau ki te ūkaipō, ngahoro noa taku reo.
Hei aha mā tōku whānau te āta wetewete i te reo. Mēnā, ka mārama rātou ki tāu i kōrero ai, ka pai tonu tōu reo. Kei ngā karaehe reo o Te Tumu, ko te wetereo o te reo Māori te aronga. He tino rerekē te reo i kōnei ki tērā o tōku marae. Kua nonoke rawa ahau ki te mārama ki te reo o tēnei Whare Wānanga. Heoi, ko tā te ūkaipō ‘“he aha koe e kōrero pēnā ana? He reo whanokē tērā ki ōku taringa.”’
He hiahia nōku kia noho tangata whenua māua ko te reo o tōku kāinga. Mā te hono atu me te noho ki ngā rekereke o te whānau o tōku marae e pērā ai.
Waihoki, ina hoki mai ahau ki kōnei, ka kōrero ētahi kaiako ki a mātou ko ōku hoa karaehe ‘“kei te hē tō koutou reo, kāore i pērā te whakatakatoranga o te reo.”’ Koia anō, he mea ngāwari ki te ako i te reo, heoi, he mea anō kia tika te reo Māori. Ahakoa ēnei raru iti, kei te mārama ahau ki te hiringa o te wetereo; kia tika tōu reo kei hē rawe te kōrero.
Ki ōku whakaaro, e tino waimarie ana ahau ki te ako i tēnei reo. He reo ātaahua, he reo hōhonu hoki. Mēnā ka manaakitia atu te reo e ngā tāngata katoa o te motu, ka ora, ka puawai anō a Aotearoa.
He huhua noa atu ngā momo hononga ki te ao Māori, he ahurea, he haka, he reo, he aha atu, he aha atu.
I ēnei tau e noho ana ahau i kōnei, kua whakapūmautia ēnei momo hononga ki tōku ao.
Kōrero ana ahau i te reo, ka rongo anō ahau i te ihi rangaranga o ōku tūpuna.
Arā, “ko tōku reo tōku ohooho, ko tōku reo tōku māpihi maurea.”
Finding the Light Through Reconnecting to Te Reo Māori
To my stars, my leaders of the flock, to my ancestors, to my guardians, you are the pillars, the instructors of my world. To my unwavering network of support, my love for you will never end. These are my acknowledgments.
Te reo Māori. This language brings sweet sounds to my ears.
For me, Māori and English are both my first languages. However, when I was six, my Mum passed away — and as a result, I was lost. I lost my connection to the Māori world, the Māori language, and tikanga.
In 2013, I was found by my aunty on Facebook, and that marked the beginning of my return to the Māori world. It wasn’t always easy.
When I returned home, I would hear my family members speaking Māori, although I didn’t understand it. When they joked in Māori, I would laugh but I didn’t understand most of what was being said. That was a source of my insecurities. Back then, I thought I wouldn’t be able to learn te reo Māori.
When I arrived at Uni, I was studying science and psychology. At that point in time, I had no desire to learn te reo Māori in Dunedin. But some of my friends encouraged me to learn te reo Māori, to take part in kapa haka, and to learn more about Māori culture. I was still struggling with anxiety about my Māoritanga.
In the second semester of 2017 I entered MAOR110, and that was the start of my return to te reo Māori. Now, in my fifth year learning te reo Māori, I still struggle with understanding large parts of the syntax and grammar. I struggle to embody the spirit of the environment and the Māori world into my reo.
Despite that, when I return home, the language flows easily. My family doesn't care too much about grammar and syntax. If they can understand what you’re saying, then your reo is fine.
In Te Tumu reo classes, a lot of emphasis is placed on grammar and syntax of te reo Māori. The language here is different to that of my marae. I have struggled with understanding the language taught at the Uni. Whenever I return home, some of my relatives have asked, “why are you speaking like that? That sounds odd.”
I want to reaffirm the mana of my home tongue and the status it holds within me. This affirmation is achieved by connecting and sitting at the feet of those at my marae. But when I return to Uni, some teachers have said to my classmates and I that our reo is incorrect and that it does not follow the proper grammar and syntax of our language. Maybe that’s why it is easy to learn the language, but hard to master.
Regardless of these minor issues, I understand the importance of correct grammar and syntax: be correct with your reo, lest you say something foolish.
I am lucky to be learning this language. It’s a beautiful language, but it’s deep, too. If all the people of this country nurtured and cared for te reo Māori, I believe Aotearoa would flourish again.
There are many kinds of connection to the Māori world: culture, performance, language, and more. Along my journey, I have established my relationship with these kinds of connections to my world.
Whenever I speak te reo Māori, I feel the presence of my ancestors. In other words, my language is my awakening, my language is the window to my soul.