A Tauranga netball team has been criticised for using Te Reo Māori on the netball court.
Te Wharekura o Mauao is a Māori full immersion school in Tauranga which encourages its students to speak Te Reo Māori outside of school hours.
For the girls of the school’s netball team, te reo is used while they’re playing on the court.
This has been subjected to resistance and objections from competing teams, with complaints being made against them.
Principal Heywood Kuka says the team has been affected by the criticism.
“They became confused, angry and sad. So, when students are made to feel this way, they start to question whether it’s OK to speak Māori or even be Māori outside of school.”
Mr Kuka says this isn't new for many Māori schools. His advice to those who don't understand: “Embrace it! The Māori language is an official language, so if you don't understand then go and learn.
“We will stand by our philosophy and values because Te Reo Māori is a priority.”