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Te Reo valuable to businesses

28 May, 2019

Currently Te Reo Māori is enjoying a resurgence, with an increasing number of New Zealander’s making a conscious effort to use and celebrate one of our nation’s official languages.

Ara has seen this support for Te Reo reflected in increasing enrolments by staff from local Canterbury businesses eager to learn about Māori language and culture.

In 2019, 147 staff members from Canterbury businesses have enrolled for Māori language courses at Ara. Organisations who have taken Te Reo courses include Canterbury Rugby Football Union (CRFU), Timaru, Ashburton and Hurunui District Councils and Christchurch Metro Cricket Association.

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Ara has been overwhelmed with the support from local businesses and Hemi Hoskins, Head of Department for Humanities, sees it as a great step towards building cultural capability in the region. “I believe we are in a time where more and more we are seeing people realise the positive benefits of Te Reo in our lives.”

Through helping people gain a better understanding of Te Reo Māori Hoskins hopes workplaces in the region will continue to make strides in diversity and appreciation of Tikanga Māori and Māori language.

“We are seeing a marked shift in people seeing how Te Reo and knowledge about Te Ao Māori contributes positively to them, their business and us as a nation. The language and culture are our international points of difference. Locally they provide alternative perspectives and approaches that can enhance, challenge and complement current practices. Learning about the language and culture also helps people learn how to further engage wider ranges of culture, world view and perspective in international contexts,” Hoskins says.

Feedback from course participants

Sarah Munro, HR Manager for CRFU and the Crusaders, said the Rugby Park staff loved the Te Reo Māori sessions they attended at Ara in 2018.

“We found the course extremely interactive, interesting and practical. It was great to learn the cultural background and storytelling around Te Reo language and see how it is personally applicable in our work environment. The tutor Hohepa, made the content come to life, was well paced and understanding with the different skill sets within the classroom. He added a great level of humour to the entire course!” she says.

Munro says she appreciated being able to practise the language in a supportive whanau environment.

“I now feel comfortable around pronunciation (especially place names and simple greetings), cultural etiquette and overall feel confident to use simple Maori language in basic interactions and dialogue. It’s really made me appreciate and respect the Maori language and the value that it brings to both the workplace and our personal lives.”

CRFU Administrator, Rebecca Archibald found the course to be an enriching experience.

“Growing up in the UK, I’ve never been exposed to learning Te Reo previously, so it was incredibly useful to be able to learn more about the language, its structure and also some Maori history. We live in a multicultural country and to be able to represent New Zealand/Aotearoa with meaning and understanding is hugely important.”

Courses on offer

In Ara’s introductory Māori Language course Te Hoe (Introductory Beginners) * over 10 hours staff gain confidence with basic Māori pronunciation, learn introductory phrases, greetings/farewells, participate in karakia, himene and waiata and gain an understanding of basic Tikanga Māori.

Upon completion of this introductory course students can move onto courses that lead to formal qualifications including Te Pōkaitahi Reo: New Zealand Certificate in Te Reo Māori. This qualification is delivered part time with live in experiences, giving you the chance to experience using the language in a range of contexts and to connect with other learners of Te Reo.

Te Reo classes are hosted by Ara on site at the Christchurch Madras Street campus and Timaru campus on Arthur Street, and can also be hosted onsite businesses that enrol. For any business enquiries about Te Reo opportunities for staff, email

*Te Hoe is free for individuals and community members. Businesses can enquire about costs for onsite training