New online Māori language resource aims ease accessibility to te reo Māori education

By Leah Te Whata

Wheako is the newest online Māori language resource developed with the goal of increasing the amount of te reo Māori being learnt by students in mainstream education.

Ngā Whātua descendant Mihi Shaw says, "Mainstream schools have the ability to have our language at the schools without having the pressure of having to resource it."

The Shaw family has created the programme independently in an effort to make te reo Māori education more accessible.

Programme designer Carlin Shaw says, "This is our families contribution towards the revitalisation of te reo Māori."

180,000 New Zealand children participate in Māori language education across Māori and English medium settings. However, Mihi Shaw says the quality of te reo being taught in mainstream schools is an issue.

"Because of the gap, we have children at mainstream at the moment and we understand that they aren't learning te reo Māori in an acceptable level and this product will provide that to mainstream schools."

Carlin Shaw says, "The time has come for our language to be returned to a high calibre, and rightfully so."

Carlin Shaw says students wanting access to te reo Māori education are eligible for three hours of government-funded lessons per week and should reach out to their school principals.