Keeping Te Reo Alive at Home on the Kapiti Coast

Media Release 26 April 2016

New Zealand’s leading in-home childcare provider, PORSE is helping keep Te Reo Māori alive in the home, supporting the Government’s goals to encourage more Māori to participate in early childhood education.

Paraparaumu in-home educator June Te Maro has brought Te Reo to life in her Paraparaumu home and says she is seeing a growing resurgence of Te Reo in early childhood education.

At 66, she is a rock in her community where she takes immense pride in teaching Te Reo and giving back to her people.

Mrs Te Maro’s In-Home Te Reo programme has been in huge demand since she started with PORSE six years ago.

“A lot of families are looking for ECE that incorporates Māori culture. There are not a lot in the early childhood sector who speak fluent Te Reo, so I find my PORSE programme is very popular.” 

She’s become known as ‘Nanny June’ to dozens of local Māori families, who, through her guidance, have continued to keep Te Reo alive.PORSE 31

Parents of children who’ve been taught by June say it’s her ‘old school’ values and wise counsel that draw the best out of every child.

“My son Caleb’s early success at school has set him off on the right foot and I believe that can be attributed to the time he spent with June," says Mrs Mulligan.

Growing up on the Pa at Ngaruwahia as one of nine children, June’s family spoke Te Reo fluently. Life was very simple, and money certainly wasn’t needed for fulfilment.

“It was a beautiful upbringing. We went without luxuries but we learnt to be resourceful, the house was titivated with punga and eels were caught using the toi toi to sweep them onto shore. All the cousins were around and nobody ever knocked on the door, our house was an open-door,” recalls June.

These days June’s home has the same open door policy and those who walk through, become part of the whānau.

June’s Te Reo PORSE programme is helping keep Māori culture with today’s younger generations and is leaving life changing imprints on the tamariki she teaches.

“When the children are around Te Reo all the time, they become very receptive to it. By seeing my body language and hearing and making their own observations they can absorb so much,” says June. 

“I don’t have many toys, and I don’t see sense in throwing things out, call it a hangover from my Pa days but old baby powder tins are used as drumkits while old pots and pans and teapots are reused to grow seedlings to feed and nourish the children,” says June.

PORSE General Manager Kerry Henderson says having an understanding of Te Ao Māori is vital in encouraging more Māori to participate in Early Childhood Education.

“We have made it a priority to understand and value the identity, language and culture of Māori children and their whānau to acknowledge the unique place of Māori as tangata whenua.”

She said In-Home Māori Educator June is a leading example of the commitment to keeping Te Reo alive in the home. 

Mrs Henderson says PORSE is supportive of the cultural identities of all children and aims to celebrate cultural differences and help children gain a positive awareness of their own culture and others.