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Student led programme aims to help Te Reo Māori flourish in Christchurch communities

The streets of West Christchurch could soon be buzzing with the sounds of Te Reo Māori thanks to a student-led revitalisation programme.

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Aotearoa Rockstars aims to break down barriers by encouraging people in West Christchurch to learn te reo words and phrases. Source: Te Karere

Aotearoa Rockstars aims to break down barriers by breaking down the reo for people in their community.

It is a charitable trust run by Te Reo Māori academics, including primary school teachers Teariki Tuiono and Nathan Riki.

“Our language is dying and it’s something that we need to keep for future generations because once it’s gone, it’s gone,” said Mahina Kanavatoa-Tauira told Te Karere. 

“That’s my community, that’s my people, and it would be good to see people around my area speaking Te Reo Māori.”

Aotearoa Rockstars comprises students from schools including Breens Intermediate and Burnside Primary, who go out into their own communities to spread the word alongside retailers, libraries and churches.

“I think that’s a great approach given there is no Te Reo Māori being spoken in those specific communities,” said Nathan Riki.

The students offer short lessons on Māori phrases and words.

According to the 2018 census just 2.1 per cent of people in Christchurch can speak te reo.