According to Ngāi Tahu’s innovation lab, Tokona te Raki Nelson has seen an 800 per cent increase in job listings seeking te reo Māori speakers, the highest increase in Aotearoa.
Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology Curriculum Manager and head of Te Toki Pakohe, Misty Ormsby says incorporating Te Reo Māori into our vocabulary will be of increasing benefit, so it’s important to make learning it more accessible. Enter, lunch time te Reo Māori classes.
“Te Reo Māori me ngā tikanga o Te Tauihu is a short, gentle introduction to te reo. It’s very learner friendly, there are no deadlines, and no assessments,” says Ormsby.
The course includes cultural concepts and practices, pronunciation, greetings, songs, and forms of language appropriate to the work, community, and home environment.
Ormsby says the lunchtime classes will help boost participants’ confidence with basic te reo Māori, improve pronunciation, and give a deeper understanding of tikanga Māori.
“Some learners leave with a basic mihi, some leave with a deeper appreciation of te ao Māori and some leave with some new te reo words in their vocabulary.”
A former student, Vincent Dickie has high praise for the te Tiriti o Waitangi course and says it was a ‘cultural conversation’- one that most non-Māori could benefit from.
“Our tutor provided a safe and comfortable space for all of us to deepen our own understanding of te ao Māori and te reo, without feeling ashamed or embarrassed for any gaps in our knowledge,” says Dickie.
Recent research from the University of Auckland shows organisations that incorporate te reo Māori and tikanga in their workplaces benefit from increased job satisfaction.
Many businesses are also wanting to include te reo to better reflect their staff and customers.
The short format of the free lunchtime classes at NMIT means the training can easily be integrated into a workplace schedule with minimal interruption, says Ormsby.