Te Tatau o Te Arawa chair Te Taru White is commending Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology for its leadership in offering free te reo Māori classes to the community.

"Rotorua Reorua is an initiative that tugs at the essence of who we are as New Zealanders. We are unique," White said in a statement today.

"Toi Ohomai has made the decision to step into the light and demonstrate leadership in supporting Rotorua Reorua and by helping people who live in our beautiful district to advance in their reo Māori journeys and embrace their identity as citizens of Aotearoa."

Rotorua made the commitment to becoming the first bilingual city in Aotearoa in 2017 and Toi Ohomai is offering the Rotorua Reorua community classes as one of the tools in achieving that goal, Toi Ohomai said in a statement.

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Te Tatau o Te Arawa is leading the initiative with support from Rotorua Lakes Council and Te Puni Kōkiri.

Rotorua Lakes Council's Te Amorangi Unit team leader, Aneta Morgan, applauds Toi Ohomai for offering the free classes and says the akomanga (classes) will enable people to advance in their reo Māori journey.

"As New Zealanders, we are all kaitiaki (guardians) of Aotearoa. Te reo Māori is a taonga tuku iho – just one of our national treasures that demands each one of us to protect and nurture our taonga.

"As New Zealanders and Rotorua residents who call this place home it can be as simple as pronouncing kupu Māori correctly. This is a mark of respect for te reo and the country - we call home. The council is committed to helping to advance Rotorua Reorua and is pleased it can host the Toi Ohomai reo Māori classes at the council again," Morgan said.

The free weekly classes, starting Monday, April 29, are available to all New Zealand residents.

Classes will be one night per week between 5.30pm and 8.30pm with some online learning and Toi Ohomai is hosting an information evening on tomorrow night at the council building in Rotorua.

Toi Ohomai tutor Rangitiaria Tibble says Rotorua Reorua is the vision to be a vibrant bilingual city.

"As we work towards the shared vision of Rotorua Reorua, it's vital that resources and opportunities are made available to our community that help us realise the aspiration of a vibrant, bilingual city.

The provision of these classes offer one way in which Toi Ohomai can actively contribute to this shared vision, Rotorua Reorua – a kaupapa that we are proud to support."

She says a living language is a spoken language.

"For our language to survive and flourish beyond our lifetime, we need more people learning, speaking, normalising and enjoying te reo Māori – everywhere.

"Personally, learning te reo Māori has been transformational for me. As a result of all these experiences, I am highly motivated to support and empower others and welcome them into the beauty of te ao Māori through learning the language."


More information

Rotorua Reorua community class start the week commencing April 29. Classes will be one night per week between 5.30pm and 8.30pm with some online learning.

Toi Ohomai is hosting an information session tomorrow (Tuesday, April 16) from 5.30pm at the council offices on Haupapa St, Rotorua.