Kia ora aku hoa mahi o Te Whare Wānanga o Waitaha. Nei rā te mihi ki a koutou i Te Wiki o te Reo Māori.
UC cares about te reo Māori. Why? It is one signal of our commitment to bicultural competence and confidence. UC is committed to our students being biculturally competent and confident when they graduate, and each of us has a role in making that happen.
One way in which each of us can support UC is by taking care with our pronunciation of te reo Māori. It is respectful to take care when saying the names of our students and colleagues (no matter what their heritage). This isn’t always easy! The Office of the AVC Māori will provide you with help with Māori names. The first points of contact are the Kaiārahi Māori for your college or Service Unit, the Learning and Development half-day courses Te Reo Māori for the Workplace, and the sound files of names at UC, which can be found here: Māori names at UC. These files enable you to practise on your own.
Improving your pronunciation of a new language after puberty is a challenge. Most adults retain an accent from their first language, but with effort and practice and frequent attempts to improve, accents can be minimised. One of my Māori language students in the 1980s said something that has always stuck with me. His words were something like this: “Learning a language well requires you to lower your cultural ego barriers.” Thank you Thana na Nagara for these wise words.