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SEED projects 2018 – He vaka moana: Navigating Māori and Pasifika student success


Hemi DaleHemi Dale (Faculty of Education and Social Work)

This project aimed to review and revitalise our programme glossary (papakupu). The glossary began more than fifteen years ago as a small collection of high frequency educational terms used across the courses within our University’s te reo Māori immersion teacher training programme. The glossary’s key purpose was to help student teachers learn these terms. Over the years I added words and terms to the papakupu as well as appendices focused on different aspects of the language.

The following outcomes were achieved through this project.

Firstly, an appendix focussed on particular Māori grammatical structures many students find difficult, including transitive and intransitive verbs, passivisation, negation, the possessives ‘a’ and ‘o’, nominalisation and the particle ‘ai’. Secondly, about 400 new words were added, such as matioke ma (white noise), whakamatamua(tia) (prioritise) and raukura pitoiti (graduand). Where appropriate, synonyms and antonyms have also been added. Thirdly, a new appendix on digital technology and social media lists 100 student-selected terms that range from Tiriata (YouTube) to hohenga (action). Fourthly, another appendix lists words associated with addiction and mental health fields.

Finally, since learning tikanga (protocol) is an integral part of learning te reo Māori, an appendix was added that includes a range of karakia, enabling students to acquire quickly a range of karakia (traditional, Christian and neo-traditional songs) to use for different purposes.

The papakupu provides both a window and doorway for students into the living, breathing, evolving and dynamic nature of te reo Māori in the 21st century. It supports students’ te reo Māori acquisition and proficiency by providing ready access to the corpus of educational words and terms that have developed over the last three decades as a result of Māori-medium schooling. In addition, the acquisition of the metalanguage of education supports the development of students’ metacognition skills and ability to be reflective in te reo Māori.

The direct engagement of students has enabled the inclusion of vocabulary not previously identified. Suggestions about further content will provide focus for its next iteration. The intention to look at making the papakupu digital proved beyond the scope of this project. The papakupu is also a valued resource for lecturing colleagues who use it as a point of reference for their own on-going linguistic development.