Local primary schools say it is important to embrace the national Maori culture every week - not only during Maori Language week.

Te Akau ki Papamoa Primary School principal Bruce Jepsen said the school had highlighted the benefits of the culture and normalised te reo Maori in their mainstream school. "I always find it interesting when the question is raised whether it's compulsory, I would flip it and go is it compulsory to learn English."

He said they have taught the language every day at a funded level and gone beyond the basic pronunciation and learning of names and places to creating sentences and making sense of being able to communicate in Maori every day.

Mr Jepsen said they incorporated te reo Maori not only because it is the right thing to do but because of benefits such as students thinking in other languages.


They have been running a school radio station for the past five years that provides lessons in te reo Maori for the students and teachers.

Merivale School principal Jan Tinetti said through Maori lessons at the school, students could also speak some Maori.

The school had two Maori classes which lead the school through Maori aspects such as kapa haka and Mrs Tinetti said the children "absolutely love it."