The Warehouse worker encouraging te reo Māori

By Heeni Brown
  • Auckland

A counter-operator for The Warehouse says she encourages her customers to speak te reo Māori in a predominantly non-Māori speaking area. 

The Waikato descendant says, "Negative feedback, there's only been honestly four people since I've been here in the last four and a half years, but the feedback with other customers has been tremendous."

48-year-old Ata Marsh works in the Newmarket store and for the last four and a half years she has been using te reo Māori in the work place.

"What do I hope for the future? That every single customer that I've spoken te reo Māori to, I've planted a seed in them and may be they could go to a wānanga and learn te reo Māori and be as passionate as I am about my language."

She says she isn't a fluent speaker but will use te reo Māori as often as she can.

"For me personally being an older speaker, I don't absorb quite quickly as our young tamariki do, but kei te pai. I'm so passionate about te reo Māori nothing can stand in my way."

Marsh says her reo journey doesn't end here and she is always looking for other ways to improve the quality of her language.

"For my next step, hopefully next year, I'll start going and learning level one and two te reo. Yes, that's my next step so I can improve my reo, so I can help my mokopuna, teach them te reo and what I know to help them on their journey."