• March 10, 2018
The AUT course’s popularity continues to rise. Photo: Imogen Wells
Te Kākano, AUT’s te reo Māori course for beginners, has been forced to cap its numbers despite doubling its teaching staff since 2016.
Course leader Erana Foster says it’s down to a lack of quality te reo teachers.
“There are lots of reo speakers, but people who actually have the capacity to teach the language - that’s a different ball game.”
The current course has 560 students enrolled, with a further 90 on the waiting list. AUT te reo Māori lecturer Hēmi Kelly says this year’s enrolments are the highest they’ve ever been.
Mr Kelly says new initiatives are needed to promote te reo teacher training with enrolment numbers only rising over the past 11 years.
Ministry of Education spokesperson Ellen Macgregor-Reid says there is a shortage of te reo Māori teachers but it funded more than 350 scholarships in 2017 for those wanting to qualify.
“It’s not possible to give a definitive answer on how many te reo Māori teachers there are. But what we do know from our conversations with various parts of the sector is that there’s a need for more.”
The University of Auckland's Huarahi Māori programme, a full-immersion training course for te reo Māori teachers, still has spots available. Programme’s leader Hēmi Dale says the plan to meet beginner course demands nationwide must be long term rather than short term.
Beginner and intermediate level Māori language courses at AUT are part of a nil-fee tuition scheme funded by the university and Ms Foster says this, too, is part of the reason the course is in such high demand.
She says there’s been a lot of disappointment from those who did not make it on to the course and then also didn’t make the waiting list.
Her advice for now is to enrol as early as possible for future courses as there’s no guarantee there will be the teachers to meet high enrolment demands by 2019.