Today you'll find many institutions working to recover te reo Māori. Tuatahi Pene runs a night class for free at Unitec's Te Noho Kotahitanga Marae in Point Chevalier, most of his students work full-time and are non-Māori.
A classroom setting with a difference, with a diverse range of students, with one common goal, to learn te reo Māori.
Tuatahi Pene says, “The majority of these students speak only one language and that's English. They have little or no knowledge of the structure of the language or even the culture, however they have chosen to come and learn.”
This class boasts a very diverse range of cultures.
“Our students come from far and near in pursuit of the Māori language. Mostly New Zealanders, some Pākehā and some Māori,” says Pene.
Most are adults in the class, so many of the students have children too.
Pene says, “We have mums and dads who want to learn Māori, so they can converse with their children who attend kura kaupapa and wharekura schools.”
Therefore because the students come together and learn together on a marae, they form a unique bond.
Pene says, “The concept of kinship is one factor which we try to instil in these night classes, because the name of our marae is Te Noho Kotahitanga and that's what we strive for to give our students a sense of belonging.”