Colin McCartney pictured here receiving his certificate for completing the Te Reo course
Being a quarter Maori herself, and having grown up in New Zealand when Te Reo wasn’t taught in schools, Janice sees the importance of people connecting with their past roots and culture. ‘It can change people’s attitude to life on a daily basis,’ says Janice.
Janice was previously a Care Home Manager before she came to the Bupa Rehabilitation facility in Gisborne. ‘I noticed I really missed out when I was growing up,’ Janice begins. ‘So I made sure both my girls took up Te Reo at school. One of them is now an Early Childhood Teacher and the other is a Primary Teacher,’ she adds proudly.
Several of the clients at Gisborne Rehabilitation are of Maori descent. Every Wednesday there is an outing to a coffee club and on Fridays there is often a group picnic. ‘We focus on a lot of activities to help people re-learn skills. There’s creative space for arts and crafts. But I really wanted to offer them more so I looked into offering Te Reo,’ Janice says.
‘I knew a local provider, Turanga Ararau, that delivered free courses so I approached their Manager and asked if they could deliver courses for our clients onsite,” Janice explains. The course takes Maori clients back to their roots and Tikanga Maori.
‘I felt it was important to touch base with their heritage and centre themselves with their culture.’
Janice adds she has noticed a change at the facility where clients use Te Reo in everyday communication. She sees people welcome each other with ‘Morena’ (good morning) or 'Kei te pēhea koe?' (How are you?).
There is a sense of fulfilment at the facility since the course ended. ‘The clients sing their waiatas with a real sense of pride and identity’, Janice says.
In total ten clients completed the Te Reo course. The team are now looking at furthering the options in future with an advanced Te Reo course.