Lynne-Harata Te Aika
Ngāi Tahu, Ngāti Ata
Head of School: Aotahi Māori & Indigenous Studies
Master of Arts honours (MA hons), Waikato University Graduate Diploma Māori and Bilingual Education,
Bachelor of Arts (BA), Victoria University
Diploma in Teaching (Dip Tchg), Christchurch College of Education
Graduate Te Panekiretanga o Te Reo - Institute of Excellence in Te Reo Māori
Nei rā te mihi matakuikui ki a koutou! Kia kaha tātou te whakaora i tō tātou reo Māori hei hāpai, hei whakatairite i te tuakiritanga o tō tātou iwi Māori me ngā reo-ā-iwi hoki! He iwi taketake motuhake tātou! Tōku reo tōku ohoho,tōku reo, tōku māpihi maurea!
I have recently returned from a two week tour in the United States on an indigenous cultural exchange with Te Panekiretanga o Te Reo- '25, Graduates from the Institute of Excellence in Te Reo Māori, organised by Professor Timoti Karetu. We spoke Māori all of the time, except when interacting with indigenous First Nations' groups. We were hosted by Lakota speakers in North & South Dakota and attended a Language wānanga for Lakota speakers at Sitting Bull College in Standing Rock Reservation. It was a humbling experience to be taken to such culturally and historically significant sites of the Lakota people. They shared their experiences and history with our group, and we paid our respects at Wounded Knee- a site of unlawful massacre of Lakota (Sioux) people.
We visited schools at Pineridge reservation, and shared our stories of our language revitalisation efforts. They were most interested in ways of language immersion for young children and motivating rangatahi to learn the language. Does this sound familiar?
Whilst fluent Lakota speakers are still very small in number, they were encouraged by our Māori language journey, inspired by the three generations of speakers represented in our Te Panekiretanga group and that through much hard work and effort second language learners could achieve a high level of fluency and raise their children as first language speakers.
As this language pepeha states 'it takes one generation to lose a language and three generations to bring it back'! I am forever reminded about how important language is to our identity as Māori! Akona te reo! Kōrerotia te reo! Arohatia te reo Māori! Learn the language, speak the language and cherish the language!