Genevieve shared a moment

Genevieve Pritchard | May 2021

Photo of Genevieve | Auckland 0614
Going on 23 years ago my daughters’ dad, who is Rongowhakaata, enrolled her into Te Kohanga Reo & I was really against it because I believed that her being immersed in te reo Māori wouldn’t get her anywhere in life.
Going on 23 years ago my daughters’ dad, who is Rongowhakaata, enrolled her into Te Kohanga Reo & I was really against it because I believed that her being immersed in te reo Māori wouldn’t get her anywhere in life. In my defence, I was privately & publicly brought up to believe in this, since I’m a product of the 1960’s & am of Sāmoan descent. This was my perspective of te reo Māori until I saw how much my daughter was blossoming into a vibrant & confident young woman. I knew, in my manawa, that it was because of her connection with being schooled in Te Ao Māori. However, in her first year at Unitec she informed me that she believed she was losing her reo because she wasn’t using te reo on a daily basis, & I couldn’t even kōrero Māori. My manawa dropped because I didn’t want my daughter to start wilting. So, I said to her, “NOT ON MY WATCH!”, & I took her hand & we enrolled at TWoA together. Unfortunately, she had to drop out because she couldn’t balance the workload of studying for her degree in Architecture & attending te reo Māori classes, but I continued on. As a parent I want my daughter to succeed in life & unlike before I totally believe that te reo Māori is the vehicle which she needs to get her there. Learning te reo Māori has enabled me to see the importance of Te Ao Māori, not just for my daughter, but for all of Aotearoa in general. Te reo Māori is a taonga to me! Not only do I want my daughter to retain her reo by me being able to kōrero Māori fluently with her on a daily basis, but I also want to go out in public & hear conversations being had in te reo Māori, all around me, like it was before the colonizers tried to strip Māori of their identity. Whāia te iti kahurangi ki te tūohu koe me he maunga teitei. Seek the treasure you value most dearly: if you bow your head, let it be to a lofty mountain.