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Book & Print in New Zealand : A Guide to Print Culture in Aotearoa

Te Reo and literacy programmes for Māori

Te Reo and literacy programmes for Māori

One of the initiatives of the Tū Tangata philosophy of the Department of Maori Affairs in the late 1970s was the establishment of the Te Kōhanga Reo movement in 1977. The primary aim of Te Kōhanga Reo is to encourage and increase the development of Māori spoken language but they also begin pre-reading skills with picture cards and stories in Māori. The consequence of success in Te Kōhanga Reo and continuing education in Māori has been a huge increase in Māori text picture books, school readers and educational books generally. One of the most important changes in education generally and specifically teaching reading has been the development of Te Reo Māori, and there are now over 60 titles in the He Purapura series of readers for five- to eight-year-olds; some of the Ready to Read series have been translated into Māori, and there are also the He Kohikohinga series for older students; Ngā Kōrero which are stories from the School Journal translated into Māori and Ngā Tamariki Iti o Aotearoa, books designed to be read to young children. These series are all produced by Learning Media and are listed in a handbook Te Reo Māori Resources (1993). (Learning Media has also produced reading materials in Samoan and other Pacific Island languages which are discussed in more detail in the following chapter.)

Literacy among Māori children prompted the development of the Reading Tutoring Programme documented in Pause, Prompt, Praise (Atvars, Berryman and Glynn, 1995), a trial project implemented by Māori for Māori in the Tauranga area. Surveys like Wagemaker (1993) highlight the comparatively
Black and white photograph

Few details are known about this late 19th-century photograph, except that it was taken by the photographer Edward George Child (fl. 1894-1901), probably in the Ōhingaiti-Rangitīkei area, southwest of Taihape. Work began in the late 1880s on clearing the heavy bush in this rugged part of the country, to which access was improved by the opening of the main trunk railway in 1904. (Edward Child Collection, Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, NZ, reference number G-32338-1/2-)

poor performance of Māori and Polynesian children in reading achievement and there are as yet no PAT tests for children learning reading in Māori. Children's reading achievement in Māori is discussed in Kōhanga Reo Let's Celebrate (1992). Māori Literacy and Numeracy (Irwin, Davies and Harre Hindmarsh, 1995) puts Māori literacy generally into the context of colonial and post-colonial political and discursive processes and discusses the collision of an oral tradition with the world of literacy.