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23/08/2019 12:00 a.m.
Friday 23 August, 2019
Te reo Māori is Aotearoa's indigenous language and is also one of the nation's three official languages. It is a central element of Māori culture and heritage.
Earlier this month, staff at the Ashburton District Council celebrated the completion of a pilot te reo Māori course, designed to increase cultural competence and help staff improve their use of te reo.
The course was provided by Ara Institute of Technology, and completed over several weeks.
Pictured: Ashburton District Council staff with their certificates after completing the te reo Māori pilot course run by Ara Institute of Technology.
To celebrate the completion of the course, the new graduates welcomed guest representatives from Ara and fellow newcomer Janice McKay (Welcoming Communities Advisor) with a karakia (formal greeting and acknowledgements), waiata (song) and each person introduced themselves with mihimihi (introductions). This was followed by shared kai (food).Staff reported that the karakia was a great way to celebrate what they had learned and an opportunity to put it into a real-world situation, before stepping into Marae ir Wananga. Ara Institute of Technology were overwhelmed by the positive response to the course and the general consensus was that most attendees would like to further their training. The Council now has a group of in-house staff who are able to formally welcome local, national and international dignitaries in te reo Māori. The pilot programme shows the Council's efforts as a government organisation to take steps in enhancing partnerships with Tangata Whenua and to protect a national Taonga (treasure) - New Zealand's rich indigenous language.