Te Reo Māori in Physical Activity, Nutrition and our Work Spaces.

Tereana Ihakara presenting at Hui ā Tau, Napier, Feb 2020.

Kei ngā huruhuru, kei ngā waewae o te kaupapa, tēnā rā tātou katoa.

Ko te wehi tuatahi ki a Īhoa o ngā mano, te tīmatanga o te whakaaro nui, te whakaotinga o ngā mea katoa.

Ko ngā whakaaro ki te wāhi ngaro, ngā mate tārurunui o te tau, o te wiki, o te marama rātou ki a rātou.

Hoki rawa mai ki a tātou, ngā urupā o rātou mā. E toi tū ai te mana, e toi tū ai te tangata.

Kia ūkaipō anō te reo! To nurture our language!

This whakataukī has stuck with me throughout my internship here at Toi Tangata.

I’ve had this time to reflect on my upbringing, how lucky I was to grow up in all aspects of te ao Māori.

I am currently studying a Bachelor of Arts, double major in Criminology and Māori studies. I consider myself very fortunate to have been accepted into this internship programme, especially when I am not involved in the health sector.

My kaupapa explores the benefits of te reo Māori in work spaces. It’s not only relevant to the health sector, but also my future mahi. I want to be a policewoman because of the discrimination against our Māori people, to find ways to address the issues that affect us through the sector. I want to be a policewoman to change these perceptions and I know that this internship research with Toi Tangata will also help me on this journey.

My project was based on developing reo strategies around our workplaces, in physical activities and nutrition. Promoting reo Māori in these types of work spaces, where it is the norm and not just tokenism is a challenge in itself, but this research provides a foundation that can be a starting point for all people, ahakoa Māori mai, Pākehā mai rānei.

This year has put me in many uncomfortable situations. One was my presentation at Te Hui-ā-Tau, which was held in Ahuriri, Napier. I was driven and motivated throughout my six weeks as an intern at Toi Tangata. I was surrounded by other inspiring interns who were determined about their kaupapa as well who helped me to tackle these obstacles and helped me present to the best of my ability.

I was grateful to be able to share my knowledge with others who will benefit from kīanga, kīwaha and whakataukī that they can use around their work spaces, their communities or their homes. A kaupapa I am passionate about for the revitalisation of te reo Māori, ngā tikanga me ngā kawa.

My experience at Hui-ā-Tau was awesome. I met people from various backgrounds with similar driven kaupapa, on their very own journey in building a foundation for our people. Targeting the rural areas who aren’t exposed as much as our urban communities. This has given me a chance to also focus on my mental health, physical activity and nutrition by using all these strategies to help myself in my mahi, in my studies and at home. Hīkoia te kōrero, Walk the talk!

Setting an example for people to follow. There was one specific kaupapa that I put before the people who sat in my presentation. Not to be shy to kōrero Māori, to use te reo Māori as you converse, by doing this you’re contributing to the revitalisation of te reo Māori, a gift our tūpuna passed down many generations to nurture and treasure.

Nō tātou te reo Māori, kōrerohia, waiatahia, kia rongo te ao i tōnā ātaahua.

This is our language, speak it, sing it. So the world can feel its beauty.

This article was written by Tereana Ihakara, who is studying towards a Bachelor of Arts with a double major in Criminology and Māori studies. Tereana who was a member of Toi Tangata’s Growing The Puna Internship program for 2019-2020.