Today, Associate Education Minister Kelvin Davis launched Te Ahu o Te Reo, a $12mil program set to normalise te reo Māori in the classroom. The announcement was made in front of more than 150 students at an orientation day at Ōtaki Racecourse.
Teachers at the orientation will embark on the 17 week Māori language program.
“The program is designed for teachers and those in the education sector," says Davis, "Regardless of which education facility, whether it be full-immersion, mainstream or primary, I'm encouraging everyone to get on board with Te Ahu o Te Reo.”
The trial includes 685 students across the regions of Kapiti-Horowhenua, Waikato, Taranaki and Te Waipounamu.
“This program will assist Raukawa in achieving there 2025 objective," says Davis, "There is a vast range of teachers who will take this program into the mainstream and help lift the Māori language success rate.".
Many of the teachers were also excited about the program's potential.
“For me, it's a journey to learn about Māori and pass the knowledge on to my students," says teacher Rawiri Bennett, "Most of my students can speak fluent Māori so it's part of a two-way path.”
“I teach year three and four, I love teaching them, they're so eager to learn, they're like little sponges, especially when it comes to languages and I want to be a part of that,” says another teacher.
“I want to strengthen my language and also teach it to our students in Kōhanga reo,” says Jade Ratapu.
Te Ahu o Te Reo will be delivered online, in face-to-face weekly classes and at a conference.
“We want this program to thrive across the country but this is only the beginning,” says Davis.
The government has set an ambitious goal to integrate te reo Māori into education in early learning and schools by 2025.