Unprecedented numbers at kura reo as popularity soars

Te Taumata 2023. Image by Rawhiritoa Photography.

Kura reo are more popular than ever with Te Mātāwai supporting twice as many of these Māori language learning events in 2023/24 than last financial year.

Te Mātāwai is investing in 61 kura reo across Aotearoa this financial year 2023/2024 compared with 29 kura reo held in 2022/23. About 100 people attend each one which means thousands are benefitting from boosting their te reo Māori capabilities annually.

Investment increase across kura reo, wānanga reo, and karaehe reo is even higher with Te Mātāwai funding 385 of these different types of reo Māori classes in 2023/24 compared with 182 in 2022/23.

Te Mātāwai Kaiwhakahaere Haumitanga, Nate Brabender says the hunger for te reo Māori immersion learning opportunities is high and this is a positive driver for Māori language revitalisation in communities.

“Securing a spot for [all] kura reo is now as competitive as buying a ticket for a sell-out musician - places go within minutes of being advertised. It’s awesome so many people want to upskill their reo in a kura reo environment, and all our pae motuhake invest accordingly each year to try to keep up with that demand.”

“This is a challenge though as our funding has not increased since our inception so most kaupapa do miss out. The Board and pae motuhake must be innovative with our small resource.”

Another example of Kura Reo growth was a record five were held in April alone this year. These were Kura Reo ki Te Waipounamu, Kura Reo ki Whirinaki, Te Kura Reo o Raukawa, Whiua ki te Ao – Perth Kura Reo and Kura Reo ki Pōneke, with the first three receiving Te Mātāwai investment.

“Because kura reo keep reaching capacity, our reo Māori champions are also picking up the responsibility to host more. We must mihi to them for the important mahi they do, and to their kaiako for raising such language champions,” Nate says.