Puni Reo Poitarawhiti: Playing in te reo Māori
Lee-Morgan, Jenny; Martin, J.; Mane, Jo; Lee-Morgan, E.
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Citation:Lee-Morgan, J., Martin, J., Mane, J., & Lee-Morgan, E. (2021). Puni Reo Poitarawhiti: Playing in te reo Māori. Scope (Kaupapa Kāi Tahu), 6, 72-80. https://doi.org/10.34074/scop.2006005
Permanent link to Research Bank record:https://hdl.handle.net/10652/5513
In May 2018, the inaugural Puni Reo Poitarawhiti was held at Netball Waitäkere, West Auckland. The first Mäori language-only netball tournament of its kind, Puni Reo Poitarawhiti (PRP) was open to all schools (kura kaupapa Mäori and English-medium schools) in the Auckland region. According to Te Puni Kökiri, the first PRP attracted approximately 550 young people (60 teams), ranging in age from 11 to 17 years old. In total, 20 schools participated— the majority (95.5%) of these schools were either Kura Kaupapa Mäori or schools with Mäori immersion units or classes. The following year, the number of schools slightly increased to 21.1 Unfortunately, due to COVID-19 the PRP tournament was cancelled in 2020. Puni Reo is an important part of today’s Mäori language movement that creates a Mäori language space for a particular event or purpose. As an innovative Mäori language initiative, Puni Reo has focused on promoting te reo in everyday activities such as sports, domains that are not usually considered ‘traditional’ Mäori language arenas. As an initiative, these events seek to widen the use of te reo Mäori in social, community settings, in an effort to normalise te reo Mäori outside of formal learning settings. While Puni Reo is a ‘new’ initiative, it is inspired by the ‘old’ concept of a puni that, in this context, is referred to as a camp. Puni Reo Poitarawhiti is a relatively new initiative that has the potential to become a significant annual event on the Mäori student calendar in Tämaki Makaurau, as well as other regions throughout Aotearoa. This article draws on the one-year scoping project entitled ‘Puni Reo: Normalising Māori language in new domains, led by Professor Jenny Lee-Morgan and Dr Jenifer Martin, alongside the instigator of this initiative, Eruera Lee-Morgan. This article introduces the concept of Puni Reo Poitarawhiti, and shares the findings as it relates to the students’ experiences and perspectives of the first two Puni Reo Poitarawhiti held in 2018 and 2019. The focus for the students centred on their ability and excitement to ‘play’ in te reo Mäori.