Amanda Rees Talks te Reo

We asked Amanda Rees to share some of her reo  journey  with us for Te Wiki o te Reo Māori 2018

Catch Amanda in Cradle Song, spooking up Q's Loft September 18 - 22

In 1999 I travelled to Hawaii with Hone Kouka’s play Waiora and the entire cast were either fluent reo, or learning which sparked me to come home and join a community class at Western Springs College. A term later there was either total immersion (which scared the hell out of me back then) or a book and cassette (this was last century). The cassette petered out, but two years ago Te Pou Theatre started classes and I joined up without even knowing which day of the week it would be, and for how long. Turns out it is a three-year course and I love it (whoop whoop!). Here I am in total immersion with the tip of my nose just high enough above water to breathe. I now think what was I scared of? It’s hard work but it’s also fun learning like a child again.

This is the language of our country and as a Pākehā I feel lucky, proud and delighted to be able to learn it. God I’m old enough to remember when kōhanga started up and the pānui of the day was that in 20 years’ time te reo Māori would be extinct. And look at us now. I’m so glad those early visionaries and leaders knew that if they started with the tamariki then the rest would follow. I am inspired by the feeling of community desire to learn. Mīharo. I read Your Q and other emails from Q Theatre and every week there is a reo word of the week, I catch the bus and there are useful phrases. I look around and people are snapping pics of their friends with the new app Kupu that translates the world for them to help learn our language.

He wehi nā

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