Highlighting the Voices and Aspirations of Māori Families and Children on Ka Puananī o Te Reo Māori, their Unique One-Day Language Programme

  • Kelli Te Maihāroa
Keywords: Te Reo Māori, language immersion programme, engagement, relationships, language and culture, cultural identity, language revitalization.


Ka Puananī o te reo Māori is an innovative one-day a week Māori language immersion programme (Level 1), which addresses access to quality Māori language education in mainstream schools for years 1-8. This research focused on why the participants chose this programme as a successful model for the delivery of quality te reo Māori education, and what aspects of the programme supported this choice via ‘interviews as chats’, with nine children and 11 family members, using semi-structured questions. Ka Puananī families identified three initial assumptions underpinning the programme; that students will greatly increase their skills in te reo Māori me ōna tikaka Māori language and culture within this enrichment environment, participants would form new linkages between the children and families across the city, and the creation of a potential new cohort of young people, the next generation of Māori speakers. The outcome from this research produced three major themes: engagement, whanaukataka relationships and cultural identity. The majority of participants reported that they were happy with the programme, that the children were learning and using more Māori language, including reading and writing skills in the target language. All of the families and half of the children identified the theme of whanaukataka as important. There were numerous cultural benefits identified, such as increased emotional wellbeing, self-esteem, and developing a stronger sense of pride to ‘be Māori’. Families also reported wider cultural affiliations, strengthening their links with Kura Kaupapa Māori ki Ōtepoti Māori immersion primary school in Dunedin, whānau, hapū sub tribe, and iwi tribal members.