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Student Profiles

Leslie Umuhuri
Ngāti Awa, Tūhoe, Ngāti Pūkeko

Te Awa Reo, Bridging Certificate in Te Reo Māori

Background Summary:

I grew up learning te reo Māori in the Ruātoki valley but walked into a pākehā world when I went to high school. I started to lose my reo through my own complacency and I slowly disconnected from my Māoritanga.

In 2011 I enrolled in Te Awa Reo, which re-ignited my Māoritanga. I connected again with my reo to pursue ngā taonga of our tupuna.

Tōku reo tōku ohoho, tōku reo tōku māpihi maurea.

I discovered I enjoy entertaining people and now I’m part of a new kapa haka group, Te Tāwharau a Mātaatua. This encompasses all that I have been learning on my journey, with a firm connection to my marae, hapū and iwi.

Iti te kupu, nuī te kōrero.

I began learning to teach te reo at beginner level, speaking te reo on a daily basis, and from there came the next step: studying for a Bachelor of Education. I’m in the second year of the teaching degree programme at Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi, and the aim is to pass on Te Reo Māori me ōna tikanga to our tamariki.

Iti rearea teitei, kahikatea ka tāea.

Te Awa Reo for me was learning te reo me ōna tikanga: tikanga, kawa, the taonga of our tupuna in a nurturing environment.

At Graduation 2013, Leslie Umuhuri was awarded The Rotary Club of Whakatāne Award for the Most Improved First-Year Student in Te Reo Māori.