Haane Ngatai, a senior firefighter based in Ngā Tai ki te Puku (previously Region 2), has been sharing his love and knowledge of te reo Māori via classes for his colleagues at Rotorua Fire Station, with support from Kereama Katu, Pou Takawaenga Māori, and Amor Tokona, Business Services Coordinator.

Haane Ngatai, a senior firefighter based in Ngā Tai ki te Puku (previously Region 2), has been sharing his love and knowledge of te reo Māori via classes for his colleagues at Rotorua Fire Station, with support from Kereama Katu, Pou Takawaenga Māori, and Amor Tokona, Business Services Coordinator.

“As a Māori growing up I was immersed in te reo. I know how it should be pronounced,” says Haane. “With Fire and Emergency moving to where Māori culture is far more important, especially pronunciation, I offered to share my knowledge.”

From mid-May to early-August, Haane ran weekly two-hour te reo Maōri classes while he was on a placement to Rotorua Fire Station from his usual Kawerau base.

Haane says between five and twenty eager “students” attended each time. He focused on teaching them basic sentence structure and correct pronunciation of words including numbers, colours and names—including Haane’s own name, which he says people often mispronounce (a as in car; e as in care).

The course finished with a small assessment and shared kai (food).

 Haane has since returned to Kawerau Fire Station but is heartened that his Rotorua students are keen to continue learning te reo Māori.

This course is one example of the 10-week course being rolled out by Kereama across Ngā Tai ki te Puku, with each one delivered by a local firefighter or support staff member where possible.

Classes have been running for some time in Tairawhiti. Waikato and Tauranga people will have their opportunity to learn te reo through these classes later this year.

Te Reo at Rotorua station

 Te Reo classes at Rotorua Station

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