Mum of two, Kimberley Cleland is taking what she has learnt from her reo Māori studies through Te Wānanga o Aotearoa and passing it on to her young tamariki (children).
Kimberley believes that if more people learn reo Māori, understand and respect te ao Māori (the Māori worldview) and revitalise the language, then Aotearoa as a whole will be better off.
“I want my children to grow up understanding te ao Māori, tikanga and te reo because I think if all of those things thrive in New Zealand, then we will all thrive as well.”
The Tauranga local completed Te Rōnakitanga ki te Reo Kairangi, level 5 programme in 2022 and is now studying the level 6 Diploma in Te Aupikitanga ki te Reo Kairangi.
Kimberley appreciates that studying with Te Wānanga o Aotearoa hasn’t just been a basic journey of learning a language but she has also learnt about tikanga, te ao Māori and the history of te reo.
“Our kaiako (tutor), Rauangi challenged us to think deeply about things, not just the language, but why the language will thrive through revitalisation and some of the causes and impacts around what might be getting in the way of that.”
Not being of Māori decent meant that Kimberley felt extremely privileged to be studying the language while also facing some feelings of being whakamā (shy) when it came to studying reo Māori.
“As a Pākehā, I was always aware of not wanting to take up the space of somebody who has whakapapa (genealogy) and support others in their journey without detracting from their own reclamation and learning. Our journeys are so different because of the impacts of colonisation in Aotearoa.”
Thankfully the environment at Te Wānanga o Aotearoa and the classroom setting that was created by Rauangi made Kimberley want to learn more, both inside and outside of the classroom.
“When you start the programme, you get to know people and you slowly become friends, but by the end of the year you are whānau and I think that is totally down to the study approach that Te Wānanga o Aotearoa has.”
Kimberley hopes to see more people who live in Aotearoa study and celebrate te ao Maori no matter their background.
“Rauangi made us feel like there was a place for everyone to learn and that there is a place for everyone to respectfully be involved in the revitalisation of the language. It has strengthened my ideas around what it is to be tangata tīriti (people of the treaty) in Aotearoa".
Find out more about our te reo Māori language programmes.