Safekids Aotearoa incorporate te reo in safety message

By Regan Paranihi

Safekids Aotearoa has worked with a group of Auckland-based primary school te reo Māori learners to produce a series of child injury prevention messages to coincide with Māori Language Week.

Director Melissa Wilson says working with the students has been a humbling experience as she has been fortunate to experience first-hand the views of children when it comes to safety.

"It's important in our work that we take the time to listen to our tamariki and understand what injury prevention looks like through their eyes.  Equally important is exploring the language and concepts of injury prevention with a kaupapa Māori lens.”

Wilson also says the experience was eye-opening as it also helped them gauge what approach to take when dealing with the safety of kids.

"Taking time to have these conversations helps us to understand how we can utilise the evidence base on what keeps kids safe and, with whanau input, turn it into practical, common sense advice that's meaningful for them.  We believe that's a key to seeing it incorporated into daily lives."

Wilson hopes this work is the beginning of an ongoing conversation for Safekids to have with families in te reo Māori about keeping kids safe.

Safekids Aotearoa Strategic advisor Mareta Hunt's command of te reo has enabled her to translate concepts such as 'active supervision', 'scanning your environment' and 'secure hazards out of reach' into te reo Māori.

“Through listening comes awareness, through awareness comes understanding and knowledge, through understanding and knowledge comes life and well-being,” Hunt says.

Parent Amiria Waipouri says, "It's wonderful to see and hear our children's personalities reflected in their te reo Māori.  We are so proud of what our children have done sharing in te reo Māori about what safety means to them and the mechanisms to do so in our homes.  Thank you, Safekids Aotearoa."