A total immersion te reo Māori programme at UCOL Te Pūkenga Wairarapa is proving popular with learners who are keen to take their language skills to the next level.
Twenty-two ākonga (learners) have enrolled in Te Pōkaitahi Reo (Rumaki) (Te Kaupae 5) | the New Zealand Certificate in Te Reo (Immersion) (Level 5), with classes starting on 22 February.
The programme is designed for emergent te reo Māori speakers with advanced understanding and ability. It will be taught in a total immersion environment where only te reo Māori is spoken.
Ākonga study the programme part-time over a year, with weekly 3-hour evening classes and five weekend wānanga marae.
Te Reo Māori Lecturer and Rangitane O Wairarapa Kaumatua, Mike Kawana says he is excited about what he and his ākonga will get out of the programme.
"Even as a teacher of te reo Māori, I still have a lot to learn, so I'm really excited about teaching this programme. You pick up so much in a total immersion environment that you wouldn't anywhere else. To spend three hours a week just speaking te reo Māori is quite unique."
"I use te reo mainly for ceremonial or formal purposes, so to have an environment where we can have casual conversations about the rugby or the weather in te reo Māori is pretty special."
Kawana says many of the ākonga had progressed through Level 1, 2, and 4 te reo Māori programmes in recent years and had been waiting for a Level 5 option.
"Some of our learners have advanced their te reo by doing online courses, but they have missed the face-to-face interaction and being able to converse with their classmates."
UCOL Te Pūkenga Wairarapa also has Te Reo Māori for Beginners, Te Reo Māori Intermediate, Te Pōkaitahi Reo (Rumaki, Reo Rua) (Te Kaupae 3) |New Zealand Certificate in Te Reo Māori (Level 3) classes starting in February. Find our more at ucol.ac.nz/programmes/language-culture.
Photo: Mike Kawana teaching a te reo Māori class at UCOL Te Pūkenga Wairarapa.