Topics: Entertainment, Te Reo Māori

Te reo at the pump in Tauranga

By Mere McLean
  • Waikato/Bay of Plenty

Two new Māori language learning resources were launched in Tauranga this weekend. 

The Koha Kids Colouring Book of Aotearoa and a Koha card game are being distributed in ten 'Z' petrol outlets in the Bay of Plenty with the aim of taking the initiative nationwide.

Tauranga will be the first to see the new Māori language resources aimed at normalising the language.

Charlie Rahiri of Tauranga says, “The benefit is that the Māori language is being spoken among Māori, English, Chinese and whoever.  It is our gift to the world.”

The 2013 census shows that only 3.8 per cent of Tauranga's 114,000 population speak Māori.

Tommy Wilson, co-creator of the resource, believes correct pronunciation is key, especially with place names.

“Until we can understand these places that we have been living in ‘mai rāno’, then we can learn to pronounce them.  That’s a huge stepping stone, it’s a window into the culture.” 

The resources are aimed at non-Māori speakers.

Koha, the group behind the project have dedicated two years to its creation.

Lynette Gillies, who is a Z retailer, says, “We’ve played the game ourselves so we’ve had a lot of fun with it, pronouncing all the words or trying to pronounce the words and leaning a bit more about New Zealand.”

“People have collaboratively worked on this project, Māori and English, to bring to life the places of Tauranga and the country, the stories and histories,” says Rahiri.

The resources will be distributed in Z outlets.