Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Tākaka team tackle te reo Māori

Police staff from Tākaka station recently decided as a team to learn te reo Māori.

“There was a lot of silence initially,” says Sergeant Jonathan Davies. “But the repetitive nature of the learning technique and the fact that the class moves along at whatever tempo works – ie, nobody gets left behind – seems to work well.” 

They four staffers completed Level 1 He Waka Kuaka Te Reo course through Te Ataarangi – Te Tauihu o te Waka a Māui in Nelson – a community-based learning programme – and three have moved on to Level 2. The courses involve 10 hour-long sessions of total immersion. 

“The team has enjoyed the camaraderie, with the other course participants from our local DHB,” says Sergeant Davies.

“It’s been great to regularly get together as this seldom happens with the nature of our shiftwork.

“The course has taught us a basic mihi, a couple of karakia and local waiata so we can participate more fully and be more cognisant of tikanga when attending the wide variety of jobs we get to do in our communities as rural police officers.”

They are now learning about whakatauākī – Māori proverbs/sayings – and basic conversational items such as greetings, pleasantries, farewells and basic commands.

“There is so much to be admired about Māori culture, the way it treasures the land and acknowledges our role as mere kaitiaki,” Sergeant Davies said.

“Knowing where you come from and where your ancestors come from, treasuring our tamariki in the knowledge that they are our future.

“Our kaiwhakaako/teacher Jocelynne Bacci is actually Italian but has been learning te reo for 20 years and now is teaching the staff. 

“I’m particularly enjoying learning how to pronounce words and phrases correctly – hopefully not with an Italian accent. It just sounds better and it’s just a sign of respect not to butcher a language.

“Ahakoa he iti, he pounamu. Although it is small, it is greenstone,” he said.

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