8 Apr 2020

Covid-19 lockdown: Kōhanga reo livestreaming lessons for tamariki

2:49 pm on 8 April 2020

Kōhanga reo staff are getting creative with te reo Māori content and adapting to a new virtual learning environment.

No caption

(File image). Photo: RNZ / Te Aniwa Hurihanganui

They are livestreaming lessons on the Kōhanga Reo Facebook page from 9.30am to 11am.

Kōhanga Reo National Trust Board co-chair Daniel Proctor said the goal was to get as many of its 8500 enrolled tamariki engaged while they remain at home.

But he said adapting to the lockdown had been challenging.

"Like everybody, we weren't prepared for this. We've had to be quite creative in the way that we're sharing content with our tamariki and our mokopuna. It's quite difficult to find Māori content for homes that only speak the language," Proctor said.

"For those mokopuna that are in language nests, or are in kura kaupapa or wharekura, it's our opportunity to stay ahead of the curb and provide some creative content to engage our families, parents, tamariki and their grandparents, because the foundation of kōhanga reo is the entire family."

Another Māori education programme, called Kura Mō Ngā Mokopuna, is livestreamed for whānau and tamariki from 11am to 3pm.

The competition from mainstream centres, and a change to bring them under the Ministry of Education, has seen the number of centres drop from 800 in the mid-1990s to 450 today.

Proctor said many of the remaining centres were in need of repairs, but a recent $8.5 million funding boost to fix them up would help.

There is also a new programme on Māori Television, called Toku Whare Kōhanga Reo, which aims to help bring communities together to do some DIY on run-down centres around the country.

"A big mihi to Māori Television with the loss of Marae DYI, which was a really popular show, we once again became very creative and reached out to our relationships at Māori Television and out came Toku Whare Kōhanga Reo, a really heart-felt show," Proctor said.

"There's a lot of humour involved, but the stories of families, communities, hapū working strongly to re-invent kōhanga reo in their areas."

He said kōhanga reo were chosen depending on their need for repairs, and where there was capacity from whānau to help repair them.

"A kōhanga reo in the Far North, their real focus was to re-open kōhanga reo that have been closed for years. Through the commitment of the families, and support of the National Trust, we were able to work with Māori Television and re-open that kōhanga reo.

"That kōhanga reo is now thriving, it has 21 mokopuna and they want to open another one."

Read more about the Covid-19 coronavirus:

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs