Stacey Morrison: Learning te reo Māori is sometimes a luxury
1597434307604
Stacey Morrison. Image by Chris McKeen: Stuff

Britt Mann 05:00, Aug 16 2020

A leap of faith. This is how Stacey Morrison describes the decision to learn te reo Māori.

A broadcaster for almost three decades, Morrison (Te Arawa, Ngāi Tahu) has become equally well known for her work to revitalise and advance Aotearoa’s indigenous language.

The Hits radio station’s Drive co-host was motivated to learn te reo as an exchange student in Japan; in other interviews, she has talked about learning someone else’s language while not being able to speak her own, and not feeling good about that. It became her goal to become fluent before her children, now aged 7, 11 and 13, were born. And she was doing so in the public eye.

“I had people saying to me, ‘Oh you used to be a “kia ora girl’” - all you could say was “kia ora’” – and now look at you!” the 47-year-old tells Stuff.

“I realised that that was a journey that many people maybe wanted to take, but didn't. I'd realised how hard it was. So I wanted to make it a little bit easier for others.”

With Scotty, her husband of 14 years, Morrison has written two books, Māori at Home and Māori Made Fun, as well as solo authored the picture book, My First Words in Māori. Scotty has written the bestselling Māori Made Easyseries. The couple are also kaiarahi (guides) for Massey University’s Toro Mai project, free online courses in te reo and tikanga Māori. To date, 38,000 students have signed up.

But learning te reo Māori is not just an academic exercise, Morrison says. “It's quite emotional, often spiritual, and I know that because I've learned Japanese and although I felt very connected to it, it's different than learning your ancestral language or a language that has a big personal history for you and your whānau.”

Morrison recalls a wānanga at Ngā Whare Waatea Marae in Māngere. A man in his 70s, who had had a bad experience trying to learn te reo in his 20s, was in attendance with his grandson. He told Morrison: “I felt safe today. I felt safe to be learning.” And after karakia one morning, a kuia told her something had changed in her the night before.

“Finding that place for her to be able to open up to learning was the change,” Morrison says of the older woman's experience.

“It's just not something that you can do quickly. It's sometimes a luxury, because you have to have the luxury of time, or access or resources. Sometimes... you get stereotyped as the one who can't speak Māori. To put yourself in that vulnerable state that's required for learning, that's one thing I think we can talk about more – the reality of what it takes to acquire language – let alone the language that feels part of you, but you can't articulate. It's a hard feeling.”

                     

Kia ū, kia pono ki te huarahi. Koinei te whakamahuki a Stacey Morrison mō tōna whakatau kia whai ia i te reo Māori.

Kua tata ki te 30 tau a Morrison (nō Te Arawa me Ngāi Tahu) e mahi pāpāho ana, ā, e rongonuihia ana anō mō te whakaora me te whakatanatana i te reo ake o Aotearoa.

Ka pūhake te hiahia a te kaipāho Irirangi o The Hits, ki te reo Māori, nō te haerenga ōna ki Hapanī, hei tauira whiti; kua kōrero kē ia mō tana hangapōuri i tana mōhio ki tētahi reo atu, engari anō tōna reo Māori. Ka noho tērā hei take mōna, kia reo Māori āna tamariki, kua 7 tau, kua 11 tau, kua 13 tau rātou iāianei. Ka noho ia hei tauira mā tūmatanui mā.

“Kua haramai te tangata, kua kī mai, ‘Ā, ko koe rā taua “kōtiro kia ora” – koinā anahe i pahawa i ōu ngutu, ko te “kiaora” – engari tēnā tirohia koe iaianei nā!’” te kī mai a te wahine kua 47-tau-te-pakeke. 

“Ka taka te kapa ki te uaua o tēnei huarahi, e wawatatia pea ana e te tokomaha, engari, auare ake. I kite au i tēnei uauatanga. Nā reira au ka ngana kia whakamahea ake tēnei tūāhua i ētahi.”

E rua āna puka kua tuhia e rāua ko tōna hoa rangatira o te 14 tau, a Te Manahau (Scotty Morrison), arā, ko Māori at Home me Māori Made Fun, me tētahi anō, nānā tonu i tuhi, arā te puka pikitia, a My First Words in Māori. Ko tā Te Manahau tuhinga, ko te raupapa kairangi o Māori Made Easy. Ko te tokorua anō ngā kaiārahi mō te tūmahi a Te Kunenga ki Pūrehuroa, a Toro Mai, he akoako tuihono mō te reo me ngā tikanga Māori. Taka mai ki nāianei, 38,000 te rahi o ngā tauira kua waitohu atu.

E ai ki a Morrison, ehara te ako i te reo Māori, i te mahi roro noa iho. “Ka pā ki te ngākau, ka pā tonu ki te wairua. I taunga taku mōhio ki tērā, nō taku ako i te reo Hapanī, ka mutu, ahakoa i hono au ki tērā reo, he rerekē anō ki tāu ako i te reo o ōu tīpuna, ki te reo rānei e whai pānga nui ana ki a koe me tōu whānau.”

E hoki mahara ana a Morrison ki tētahi wānanga i te marae o Ngā Whare Waatea i Māngere. I reira tētahi koroua i ngā 70 tau tōna pakeke, rāua ko tāna mokopuna, i te reanga 20 tau te pakeke. Ka mea mai te koroua rā: “I haumaru tōku noho i tēnei rā. I rongo au i te āhurutanga o te ako.”

Nō tētahi rangi i muri i te karakia o te ata, ka pā mai tētahi kuia me te kōrero, nōnapō ka huri tētahi mea i roto i a ia.

“Ko taua huringa ko tōna kimi i te huarahi atu e tuwhera ai tōna ngākau ki te ako,” te kōrero a Morrison mō te wheako a taua kuia.

”Ehara tonu i te mea hei whakakamakama. Engari he taonga tonu te wā. Otirā me whai wā tonu, me whai wāhi rānei, me whai rauemi rānei hoki. He wā … ka pōhēhētia ko koe kē te mea kuare ki te reo Māori. Ko te whakakuhu i a koe ki tētahi tūnga rerekē e whanake ai te ako, ko tērā tonu tētahi mea me rukuhia e tātou - arā, te tino āhua o tēnei mea te ako i te reo – otiia tōu reo ake. E kore e taea te whakaputa. He āhuatanga uaua tonu.”

* Translation provided by Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori/Māori Language Commission.

 

Source: Stuff NZ