Student Profile

Photo of Richard Baldwin

Richard Baldwin - Te Reo

“We are the in-between generation. Our parents spoke te reo and our kids speak te reo but not us. We’re at an age now when the kaumatua are dying and at hui there are a lot of vacancies at the marae. Our generation needs to fill these vacancies and we need to start while there is still enough knowledge around to learn from.”

“This situation coupled with a life-changing experience a couple of years ago, has given me the motivation to learn te reo. I became clear on what matters and who matters. I came in here without having learnt any te reo before but I soon realised I can understand more than I thought because our aunties and uncles were fluent so we heard it around us even though they didn’t teach us.”

“I’m loving my class here and all the people involved. He Tangata. He Tangata. He Tangata. But it’s hard and we have to put a lot of work in to succeed. My younger brother is actually fluent, but as the eldest I’m meant to be the one who speaks and he’s always pushed me to take my place, but I haven’t been interested before. Now I’m ready. I’m going to be in a position to take my role and I want to do a good job – with mana.”

“I’m an introvert but at a pakeha funeral recently I was tasked by the neighbourhood to speak for our community – in English – and when I stepped up and did it, I realised I was capable of standing in this role. It’s far more daunting at a marae, but I’ve begun.”

“I’m really surprised how doing this course is bringing out my Māori side. I grew up Welsh but looked Māori. Being Maori wasn’t my thing before, but it’s time now. I’m wanting to be Māori and I’m gaining confidence.”

“The ultimate for me is be fully fluent, to be an orator, and to do it well. This means also learning the tikanga to weave through it, so it’s a long road but now’s the time. My timing coincides with a huge revival in tikanga Māori and a lot of resources becoming available.”

“My life changing experience taught me a lot. If you want to do something, go and do it. Don’t procrastinate any longer. Share it with your core group of people who matter to you.”