How wonderful and inspiring the day was at the recent Learning Story conference in Hamilton. I had the great pleasure of being able to listen to Brenda and Miria from Mana Tamariki. This year I have been very interested in Te Reo Maori within ECE and beyond.
I have started to research the effects of language on culture thinking about which comes first. After listening to Brenda and Miria I am starting to see that they are inseparable.
As Brenda and Miria spoke I began to more deeply understand that there are ways of learning and knowing that are just not describable with English and can only be spoken of with Te Reo Maori and vice versa there are ways of using Te Reo Maori that can only happen when there is a deep understanding of nga tikanga Maori.
Brenda and Miria spoke of the traditional oriori and the traditions woven around the use of these very meaningful chants. One of these chants was all but lost until a recent discovery of the words and again it as been revived and brought back to life by those able to express the heart felt meaning behind it.
John Banks many years ago said that we have lost the battle with Te Reo Maori and all we can do is hold onto the culture. (or words very similar to that) Through passionate people like Brenda and Miria surely that battle will not be lost as they ignite in others the desire to do justice to a language that hopefully will never die.
Ane leid is ne'er enough - my scottish whakatauki - one language is never enough. How true that is in New Zealand. My reflective question is this- is language without nga tikanga Maori understanding tokenism and therefore is nga tikanga without language also tokenism?
Tōku reo tōku ohooho - My langauge, my awakening.