Kia ora koutou,
Kua wheau rawa te wa i taku whakairinga korero i mahi ai au i tera tau. Kua tino warea au e nga mahi i taku oranga mai i te korikori tinana tae noa atu ki te mahi whakarauora reo. Me te manu wharau roa, kua hoki mai ahau ki konei, tuku whakaaro ai hei panui, hei totohe, hei whakakata (pea), hei korero whakamohio ano hoki ma koutou katoa.
Like a seasonal bird, I’ve come back to this blog to share thoughts with you and that you’ll get something from it. Writing is a release for me, a way for me to escape. This is therapy time for me. Ko au te turoro, ko te pae rangitaki nei te rata!
When I originally conceived this blog, I had the most pure of intentions of making it fully bilingual. Part of my neglect is that it’s hard for me to write a post once in one language and then translate it into another. For me, writing is a creative process and translation, as much as it too can be a creative process, can sometimes become a bit robotic, non-fluid and the essence of the post can be lost purely because the author has shifted focus from being creative in language and trying to convey through two languages what they are thinking and feeling at that moment.
The title of my post means ‘The Maori Language – A Language of the Open Minded’.
I have come to this conclusion because for me, in my experience, the only people I’ve truly been able to help on their te reo journeys had most if not all of the following attributes;
- being open minded
- being humble
- having emotional maturity
- being brave
- being committed
Some of them are pretty straight forward, others not so much. I’ll go over some of them.
Being open minded is about accepting any and all experiences you have with the target language you’re learning, including its culture. In my case, that’s te reo Maori. And I mean accepting everything and understanding that what may be unacceptable in your own culture may be acceptable in Maori culture. And the same applies in reverse. For example, it is completely acceptable in Maori culture that at a funeral, people honour the deceased by trying to lay a claim over them and to get them buried at their own local cemetary (usually attached to a church or marae). And that’s totally cool. Yet, at a non-Maori funeral, say at a ‘white’ funeral (and I generalise here), such behaviour is not tolerated. In fact, it’s seen as the height of rudeness and selfishness. So when it comes to Maori culture and language, if you want to be successful, accept everything you see and hear and try to understand the logic behind.
Having emotional maturity is so important. Emotional maturity means that you are at a place where you can learn the language and take on board any constructive criticism. And the key word is constructive. If someone is being obtrusive or down right rude, then I implore that you take it on the chin and don’t stoop down to their level or let their self-esteem issues drag you down. You made a choice to learn te reo Maori and you awesome for just making that choice alone. If speakers can’t appreciate that decision, that’s their problem. Be happy within yourself you’re doing something that’s making you happy and feeling connected to New Zealand on a whole new indigenous level.
Being committed. I raise this because far too often I see people start learning te reo Maori with gusto and then give up after the second or third week when they realise it’s hard work. Yep, it’s hard work. It won’t come easy. In fact, it’s going to be so hard you’ll question your sanity. But I promise you, like your mum and dad told you, like your teachers told you, it takes practice, practice, and more practice. Practice makes perfect. We were all new to a language once. It’s a process we’ve all been through. It’s just that as an adult or a teenager learning another language we have something that children don’t have – and that’s self-awareness of our flaws. Don’t let that self-awareness scare you out of being 200% committed to learning te reo.
For now, I’d like to close this post off in Maori. It’s a reward for all of you making it to the end, and for everyone who is learning te reo Maori right now.
Mahia te mahi, ahakoa pewhea, ahakoa i etehi ra ka tupu ake te hiahia ki te whakarere i te kaupapa o te ako i te reo, kia u tonu. A tona wa ka whai hua koe i au mahi ako.