This week was Māori language week. Māori is one of the official languages of New Zealand – the others being English and Sign Language. Māori is the language of the indigenous population of New Zealand.
Since I arrived in New Zealand, and especially since I’ve been teaching, I’ve been trying to learn a lot about Māori culture and incorporate it in my classes. I find it all fascinating and I have always enjoyed learning about different cultures and people. It’s even more awesome when I’m living here and it’s all around me.
We had some great events during the week like a staff vs students quiz, a student give a speech in Māori for his assessment, a performance by our Kapa Haka group, book displays in the library, daily quizzes in the notices, and Moko paintings.
I believe the top part translates roughly to “This is Māori language week.”
“Arohatia Te Reo” means “Cherish The Language” and was the theme for our Māori language week.
I also started writing the date in Māori. Since I didn’t really know how to do this, I had my students all teach me. They showed me how to write it and say it. It was a learning experience for everyone, I think. One of those times that it’s really a fantastic way for you to have your students teach you something. It’s something that a lot of them probably learned when they were in primary school and got a kick out of showing me.
Thursday was one of my favourite days. Not only is Thursday one of my favourite days every week because it’s my least busy day that falls right after my busiest day but this Thursday the students did Moko pantings. A moko is a traditional Maori tattoo. They contain ancestral and tribal significance to the wearer and would tell a story of their tribe, family, and place in social structures. Getting a moko on your face is the ultimate statement of someone’s identity as a Māori. Many Māori people had a facial moko. Women often wore theirs on their chin. My students had me get one but don’t worry – it is not permanent.