When sisters-in-law Melissa Crockett-Joyoue and Lili Crockett couldn’t find a local preschool facility specialising in teaching Te Reo Maori, they decided the only option was to start one themselves.
The result is Tipua Te Reo, a playgroup that meets every Thursday at Matakana Community Hall and uses singing, games and play to teach mums and preschoolers Maori language and culture.
“You don’t have to be Maori or speak Te Reo to come along, it’s for everyone,” Melissa says. “It’s for anyone who is interested in learning Te Reo and keeping it going.”
She and Lili set up the group after finding the nearest comparable groups were in Auckland or Kaiwaka. They met with local hapu for advice and successfully applied for Ministry of Education registration and funding, which allows them to run sessions free of charge.
“We wanted to keep it cheap, we didn’t want the price to stop people coming.”
Having started with just three whanau, Tipua Te Reo now has around 10 families from Wellsford, Omaha, Matakana, Snells Beach and Leigh regularly attending, and more are welcome.
“A big part of it is mums learning Te Reo,” Melissa says. “We have a library of Maori books that they can borrow, we do a lot of songs, and we have a shared morning tea where we try to speak Te Reo.
“It’s about creating a philosophy of growing Maori language and culture in the whole community, for children and their families.”
Tipua Te Reo meets every Thursday from 9.30am to 12 noon in the back room of Matakana Hall during school term times.
Info: Melissa on firstname.lastname@example.org or 021 522648.