Mauri Ora Programme (14th September 2010)
Several months ago, I was just aimlessly browsing the TV channels one morning and stumbled upon TV One's Good Morning programme where they where discussing about courses conducted by Te Wananga o Aotearoa, one of NZ's largest tertiary education provider offering a wide range of certificate to degree level qualifications. The course they were specifically talking about was Mauri Ora, a 52-week distance learning programme that provides an understanding of all things Maori. It is a fee-free course and on successful completion of the unit standards, you will receive a NZQA approved Certificate in Te Ara Reo Maori (Level 2). Learning about the Maori culture, customs and history would certainly help me have a better cultural understanding and awareness of Maori and NZ history, how differing cultures fit together and the practices still used today. Plus home-based and free - where do I sign up?
There is an entry requirement that you have to be above 18 years of age and a NZ citizen or permanent resident to be able to enrol for the course (check and check!). You can enrol at anytime as there are intakes every month. However, this course is very popular and I was put on a waiting list for about 2 months before I was fully enrolled into the course. Once enrolled, you will be assigned a support person (kaitiaki), who will be available to offer encouragement, guidance as well as assess your work throughout the programme.
I had my first visit with my kaitiaki, Ivy-Lee Topia, during lunch time today at Joe's Garage over a cup of coffee. She's such a bubbly and friendly Maori lady :) She first introduced herself to me in Maori, then translated what she said to me in English - her introduction was about where she and her ancestors came from with reference to the river and mountains. Not exactly how I introduced myself in return...haha...As we continued chatting, I found it quite fascinating how there is a spiritual element to the Maori culture - definitely heaps for me to learn and find out in the course! Her visit today was to brief me through what the course entails and what is expected of me as a student (tauira), as well as to pass me my first learning resource kit (kete), the first of 4 kits I will be receiving throughout the year. Books, CDs, DVDs, Maori dictionary - wow, I feel so spoiled and can't wait to check them all out :)
My first learning resource kit (kete)
You know, I'm very impressed with how the course is presented, with the professional kit, support person and proper course outline/structure. And it's FREE - can you believe it? Definitely recommend you get yourself onto the course, even more so if you are like me where I grew up elsewhere (not NZ) and have not been exposed to the Maori culture and history from young.