Topics: Entertainment, Te Reo Māori

First Māori speaking Pākēhā on Tumeke FM in Whakatāne

By Taroi Black
  • Waikato/Bay of Plenty

Tumeke FM is the first iwi radio station in the Bay of Plenty region to have a Māori speaking Pākēhā woman. Her name is Danae Lee who hails from the South Island but after immersing herself into Te āo Māori, her mission is to normalize the Te Reo.

Danae Lee says, “I wanted to learn the Māori language because it’s the original language of this country.”

“Growing up I went to Te Wānanga o Aotearoa in Tauranga to learn Te Reo Māori. Then I moved here to Whakatāne where my Reo became stronger under Awanuiarangi. But today, I’m still learning to speak, obviously, I wasn’t brought up in Te Reo but what I love about the language is having the ability to speak another language and having an actual conversation with Māori.”

Her goal is to normalize the language amongst non-Māori in the radio station.

“One of my Māori teachers asked me to join this radio station and help upskill Pākēhā in here to learn the Māori language and to also pronounce certain Māori names right.”

Now she wants her mother to learn the language.

“My whānau are stoked that I’ve picked up on the language. Now I have family members who are wanting to also learn, such as the likes of my own mother.”