The automotive industry course at Ara (formerly Christchurch Polytechnic) is one of the largest in the world. Now it is offering the first mechanics class to be taught in te Reo Māori.
That came after a kura kaupapa raukura raised concern that his first language is Te Reo Māori but the course did not have a Māori option. The polytechnic actioned his request in the hope that many other raukura from kura kaupapa māori across the motu have a chance at getting their tohu without English being a barrier.
This is the first time a polytechnic has challenged the language barrier for Māori students who come to study straight from kura Māori.
Director Te Tiriti Partnerships and spokesperson for this project Te Marino Lenihan said that when the student raised the issue, “there was nothing else to do but say yes because this is breaking those language barriers down for our tamariki and mokopuna”.
Even though there were many challenges when it came to translating a lot of the equipment into Te Reo Māori, a challenge has been set for Māori mechanics.
Translator Reimana Tutengaehe has laid a challenge to those Māori mechanics to come up with their own Māori words as they are the ones who know and work with the machines and equipment best.
The hope is that many polytechnics across the country follow suit.
“One of the biggest pros of doing this is giving a person who can only speak Māori a chance to learn and succeed in their chosen subject” which would be appreciated by many tauira Māori, Tutengaehe said.
Lenihan hope is that this inspires other polytechnics to do the same thing so tamariki māori can strive in these types of mahi.