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  • Tūao Reo – Isabel Blundell

    Isabel Blundell helps teach the parents of students at a North Shore school to learn te reo Māori so they can converse with their children at home.

    A mainstream school on the North Shore is teaching its students te reo Māori and they have also started classes for their parents to learn.


    It is something which has seen parents flourish and encourage them to speak Māori to their kids at home.


    Teacher Isabel Blundell says it’s about getting everyone involved and says,”Kia tuwhera te hinengaro o ngā tauiwi ko te nuinga o ngā matua he pākehā. Horekau he Māori i roto i etahi o ngā kura. Ka tae mai ngā hainamana me era o ngā matua e ako ana ratou, tino matekai ratou ki te ako.”


    Blundell also adds it’s an opportunity for parents to learn Maori alongside their kids, “Katahi  ka hoki ngā tamariki ki te kainga ki te korero Māori, kore ngā matua e mohio he aha a ratou korero. No reira, ko enei matua ko ratou e haere mai ana ki te ako.”


    Bayswater Primary School also runs language classes for their students and parents.


    Lindsay Child, the principal of that school says, “We're just continually looking for ways to expand what we're doing, involving whānau more in school.”


    And the fruits of the classes are presenting themselves with parent Matthew Lliiohan adding, “I can do a pepeha for myself, I'm just trying to work on some conversational stuff, trying to talk to the tamariki in little phrases. I think it's definitely a good place to start.”


    And it's more than just language, there's also customs and culture that go along with it and it's hoped this school will be an example for other mainstream schools with Child saying, “Find ways that we can continue to bring them into school, and develop our reo, our tikanga, our kawa in school. So, we’re exploring different ways that we can do that.”


    It was a pilot programme last year, but thanks to the demand to learn driven by parents, they hope they can run it again this year.