Assembly Leaders in Many Ways

The Wairakei Primary School staff are committed to celebrating and nurturing te Reo in a variety of ways.

All teachers endeavour to use te Reo within their classroom programmes as much as they are personally able to do. This includes giving instructions, giving compliments, learning the date, numbers, colours, and simple phrases. School assemblies include the Māori version of the National Anthem and other waiata. Jenna Foley (acting Principal), wanted to re-establish the use of te Reo in the script that our students read in their role as Assembly Leaders. 

In my role as the Māori Team Leader I was asked if I would support this endeavour. Students from Year 5 were approached and a group of volunteers was formed. As the students came from three different classes they decided amongst themselves who would partner with each other. We discussed correct pronunciation, clarity, volume, and levels of confidence. At a later date we practiced with the microphones and the order in which the students would lead the assemblies. 

Our Assembly Leaders: Trend, Adam, Wiki, Laila, Lila and Lily

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Practising with the microphone.

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Laila and Wiki rehearsing the assembly script.

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Including te Reo in our assemblies has many benefits. Recognising that Māori language is a taonga under the Treaty of Waitangi and an official language of Aotearoa, New Zealand,  is a great way of developing a sense of nationhood and cultural identity. The normalisation of te Reo in the school environment helps Māori students to become more engaged in their learning. A sense of belonging is crucial for Māori to succeed as Māori and this is a way we can foster Māori identity, culture and values.

I really like doing the Māori because it helps me get better at speaking te Reo Māori. It helps me a lot because learning Māori is a dream to me because my family is all Māori. It’s like I want to do speeches with my mum and dad and if I learn Māori I can say Māori with them. I just love Māori. Wiki

Wiki and Lyla standing at the podium ready to lead the assembly.

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Students are also becoming more aware of the role they have to play in promoting the use of te Reo and the importance of securing it as a living, dynamic and rich language. Our Assembly Leaders this year will use the principles of tuakana teina by sharing their knowledge with Year 5 students next year so they become the next Assembly Leaders.

Once you've done it (speaking te Reo in assembly) you know what to expect so it’s not something you need to be scared of. I really enjoy it because it is something that I want to learn. I think saying te Reo in assembly is good because other people will hear you and want to learn te Reo themselves. Laila

Getting ready for assemblies is a great team effort. Mrs Foley updates the assembly scripts and shares them with me. I print them off and organise rehearsals with the Assembly Leaders. They take them home to practise and then they lead the assembly. It is with pride I watch their contribution to our school. Another positive is that after only two assemblies I have had more students asking me to add them to the list of Assembly Leaders.

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Keywords: Te Reo

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