Topic: Education

Language resource 'Wai Ako' looks to normalise te reo in mainstream schools

By Leah Te Whata
  • Auckland

Wai Ako is a te reo Māori resource created by Roimata Smail, a learner of the Māori language. Smail says that despite an individual's level of knowledge, te reo Māori should be part of daily conversation.

Smail says, "My husband teaches eight year olds at an English medium school."

Having come out of New Zealand's mainstream education system with little knowledge of te reo, Smail believes that Māori education should be a daily feature of every school.

"Most Māori children are actually in kura auraki and I'd love for them and non-Māori children to have more of a head start in te reo Māori."

Smail has developed an online programme for primary schools to teach te reo Māori through song.

"I wrote some easy songs for him and his students, something I really enjoyed doing."

Wai Ako is based on a series of short music videos, which are aligned to the New Zealand Te Reo Māori Curriculum, Te Aho Arataki Marau mō te Ako i Te Reo Māori. 

"The curriculum has really great useful phrases in there and I thought waiata would be a great way to get those phrases out to the teachers and to the children as well."

The release of the resource coincides with Māori Language Week and is being used in some Auckland schools already.