Once the Lockdown Response Level 4 was activated, all New Zealanders were instructed to go home and stay home. This severely impacted our local tourism businesses and as a result has meant the loss of jobs for our Tāhuna community and students.
However, Te Wānanga o Aotearoa Kaiwhakahaere Ako (Manager) Pihitahi Russell was very understanding in recognising the concerns of the learners in te reo classes, and immediately put in place regular Zoom meetings to support students and keep them engaged in their te reo Māori learning journey. With the help of the tutors in her team, including local tutor Ebony Webster the Zoom meetings were a masterstroke to maintain engagement and enjoyment by the students, so much so, that even though New Zealand is now in Level 2, and can resume face to face deliveries again, students are keen for the Zoom sessions to continue. This means that students who have had to leave the region as a result of job loss are able to stay in the programme and continue their te reo Māori learning journey.
The te reo Māori classes are delivered in the Tāhuna area as a result of the strategic partnership arrangement between Southern Institute of Technology Ltd and Te Wānanga o Aotearoa. This partnership was supported by Ngai Tahu and has been in place for nearly 2 decades. The purpose is to ensure that the delivery of te reo Māori flourishes in Murihiku, Tāhuna and surrounding districts and to bring more awareness and understanding to Māori reo, and Māori values.