Aotearoa Rockstars bringing te reo to west Christchurch
A passion for normalising te reo is driving two researchers from University of Canterbury (UC), whose next project with school children at Burnside Primary School will take te reo out of the school and into the west Christchurch community.
Trialled at Breens Intermediate last year, Aotearoa Rockstars proved a hit, says Riki, who was teaching at Breens as well as leading responsive practice for a cluster of around 24 local schools and early childhood settings. He saw students grow in confidence and practical skills.
“It is really powerful for the children, especially the tamariki Māori, who have gone through life and have hardly had the opportunity to celebrate their culture,” he says, “I saw an increase of mana because they felt that their whakapapa, their history, was being respected and they were the face of that. They really liked that.”
“At the beginning they were quite shy interacting with people, but by the end it was amazing to see the difference and how confident they became. It was because they were talking about their passion and in the past they haven’t had the opportunity to do that.”
Te reo is becoming more and more present in schools, however beyond the school gates its integration is more challenging. Community members, however, have also responded positively to the chance to engage with te reo.