Posts Tagged ‘Mauri ora’

A self-affirming lesson I learned years ago is that should (and must) can always be transformed into could.  Lately I’ve found the shoulds are creeping back into my life, especially in connection with my Te Reo course.  For several weeks we’ve been told to look after ourselves and our whanau, and that there are absolutely no expectations of students at present.  Yet a tiny voice inside tells me I should/could be working on the online course and I should/could be memorising vocabulary.  If it’s could, I have a choice, and right now I choose not to study, and wonder if I ever will again.

The class has had a couple of Zoom sessions, which have been gentle and encouraging, but I find I’m dreading the time (28 April) when classes start again.  They will be online for at least six weeks, and the online work doesn’t suit me.  I find the system keeps throwing me back to where I’ve been before, and I miss getting feedback about what I’m doing.  Recently we’ve been advised to use smartphones to identify new words, and also for taking part in an online quiz.  My smartphone doesn’t allow me to download these apps, which makes it harder for me to keep up.  I would dearly love to have a textbook that I could work my way through in a classroom situation.

Today we had a message from our tutor asking us to advise her if we are considering withdrawing, and I think the time has come for me to do that.  I’m aware I may then find I want more mental stimulation, but I will still have my blog and my poetry.  Plus I could spend time working on my genealogy, and I would enjoy doing a jigsaw.  I knew when I took this course on that it was supposed to be full time and that so much commitment might be more than I could cope with.  The added difficulty of having to stay home in my bubble makes it even more unlikely that I would complete the course, and if I withdraw now I will have freedom for other things.

So, Haere Ra to Te Reo
I may come back one day for more.

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At an introductory session for my Te Reo course I was asked to fill in a form and give three reasons why I wanted to do the course.  I hadn’t thought a great deal about this beforehand (I’m a reflective learner) and put down things like wanting to understand what was being said at meetings and on radio and TV.  Lately I’ve been more carefully considering my reasons, particularly as my commitments for the next couple of months have increased, and I’m less confident of being able to give sufficient time to study.

My desire to learn Te Reo is partly because of my commitment to Te Tiriti and partly because of my desire for a more inclusive society where my values are shared.  On several past occasions I’ve been part of making a treaty-based decision to transfer a small amount of power from Pakeha to Maori, which has always given me a good feeling, as well as building my relationship with Maori.  For some years I regularly attended monthly meetings of Te Runaka ki Otautahi o Kai Tahu, and loved the process, energy and ‘wellcomeness’/manaakitanga of these meetings – so different to the way much Pakeha business is conducted.  I’m aware that Te Tiriti is the basis for government in this country.

I’ve done some study, mainly experiential, of Maori Tikanga, and I’m drawn to the fact that their world view is communal rather than individual.  I also love that their spirituality is based on nature and a balance between feminine and masculine.  This is in line with my own spirituality and has a familiar security for me.  I sometimes find the Maori links with Christianity uncomfortable, but this applies in the Pakeha world as well!

I see learning Te Reo as a personal way of helping to integrate society in Aotearoa.  All my voluntary work is based around supporting communities, especially my local geographic community, and I welcome the chance to help bring about a society that reflects my values.  My recent small action for abortion law reform was another such opportunity.

It’s been good to reflect on my reasons for choosing to study Te Reo, and this reflection makes me more motivated to succeed.

Te Reo opens up a door
and I’m encouraged to learn more


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Te Reo #1

I’ve bravely enrolled in a Te Reo course with Te Wananga o Aotearoa.  I say bravely because I’m not sure how/whether I will manage to do the work involved.  The course involves one three hour class per week, at a venue ten minutes walk from my home, and it’s free, all of which are great incentives.  However students are also expected to do another 33 hours of study each week, attend two weekend Noho Marae, and four one day Wananga.

Back in 2006 I did a Mauri Ora home-based course (72 credits) which also required considerable work, but I managed to satisfactorily complete in a shorter time than expected.  Over the years I’ve learned some Tikanga/culture but have never got very far with Te Reo/language, and I would love to be able to understand and speak more.  On this blog the most visited post each year is always my mihimihi (first posted in 2006, and updated in 2008 and 2011), something that still surprises me.

The weekly classes are in the evening 6-9pm, a time when my energy tends to be low, but I love that the venue is in Manchester Street within easy walking distance.  Even in winter 9pm is a time when I feel safe walking – little chance I’ll be taken for a street worker in Manchester Street.  I expect to be one of the oldest in the class, and appreciate that Maori culture values older people.

I went to an information session today – had dithered as to whether I would go and confirm my enrolment, but then I had a dream which indicated I would enjoy being part of the class, so I went.   The session was promoted as taking two hours, but actually took only 45 minutes.  This bodes well for anticipated time frames.

The commitment to Te Reo will probably mean I don’t have time or energy for any writing courses in 2020, but at least I should have some material to blog and write poems about.  I gather some students drop out during the year and wonder if I will be one of those?

The course requirements could be savage
but crucial when we learn the language

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Saturday afternoon found me in North Hagley Park at Te Matatini.  This was a totally amazing festival of Maori performing arts which went on for four days.  The singing was beautiful, and the poi and haka spectacular.

My only quibble was that I needed to have done more preparation beforehand.  The supplement in the ‘Press’ seemed to be aimed mainly at school children and failed to give such basic information as ticket price and location of entry gate.  Luckily the friend I went with had sussed these out.  It wasn’t until I was inside reading the programme that I knew a simultaneous English translation was being broadcast on 103.3FM.  If I’d only known beforehand I’d have taken my MP3 player.  Perhaps they assumed everyone would have a smart phone?  I understand that many of the songs and chants were highly topical and political and knowing what was being said would have enhanced the experience.  There were a number of other rules that I was unaware of beforehand, such as the prohibition against filming or photographing performers.  I’d taken an excellent photo of one group, before I heard that was forbidden, and have since deleted it, so no photo here, alas.

One activity I did admire, and took a photograph of was the children zipped inside plastic bubbles “walking” on the water.

Children in bubbles

Children in bubbles

That looked like tremendous fun.

“Te Matatini proved to be
a most amazing show to see.”


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On Waitangi Day it’s good to consider what actions each of us takes towards honouring Te Tiriti.  Learning to pronounce Maori words correctly, and being able to introduce oneself in Maori is a small step we can take.  For several years the most visited posts on this blog have been when I’ve talked about my Mihimihi, in 2006 (2,963 views) and 2008 (955 views).

So, for Waitangi day I’m posting it again, in the hope that others may like to use it as a template for their own mihi.

Tena koutou, tena koutou, tena koutou katoa

Te whare e tu nei          the house that stands here

Papatuanuku e takoto nei Mother earth lying here

Tena korua, tena korua Greetings to you both

E nga mate, haere, haere, haere the dead, thrice farewelled

Ratou te hunga mate ki a ratou

Tatou te hunga ora ki a tatou  to us the living

Tena koutou

E nga mana whenua, tena koutou  greetings to the local people

E Taua ma, e Poua ma, to the female elders, and the male elders

Rau rangitira ma, tena koutou, tena koutou, tena koutou katoa

Tena koe X greeting anyone special

Ko Maungakiekie te maunga Maungakiekie is my mountain

Ko Manukau te moana  Manukau Harbour is my tidal water

Ko Ngati Pakeha te iwi

Ko Gardner ratou ko Rout, ko Leslie, ko Nicholls nga whanau

I wehe oku tupuna I Ingarangi  My ancestors came from England

Ko Phyllis Leslie toku whaea, Ko George Gardner toku matua
Phyllis is my mother, George is my father.

Ko Stephen Symons toku hoa rangatira  Stephen  is my husband

Ko Cathryn raua ko Louise aku Tamahine Cathryn and Louise are my daughters.

Ko Ruth ahau  My name is Ruth

No Volunteering Canterbury ahau I work for Volunteering Canterbury

No reira, tena koutou, tena koutou, tena tatou katoa.

“I introduce myself to you
and want to learn about you, too.”


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