You want me to do what?

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It has been a busy week learning new grammar and a ton of new vocabulary, with a Sunday revision class thrown in for good measure. It looks like things are going to get even more intense over the next fortnight.

Sunday’s revision class at the wānanga was beneficial, and sometimes quite fun.  We went over the work we did in the first two units (Aotearoa and Whakapapa), and touched on some of the work we have been doing in the current unit (Wāhi).

One of the things we did was play a Jenga-like game, with an educational twist. On each wooden block was written a pātai (question) in te reo Māori. When someone pulled out a block, he or she had to read the question aloud, and then answer it in te reo Māori. With a focus on the Whakapapa unit, the questions related mainly to whānau (family) and numbers. For example, one of my questions was Tokohia ō tamaraki? (How many children do you have?). Another was Ko wai tō māmā? (Who is your mother?). There was much laughter as we tried to play without collapsing the structure. Who says education can’t be entertaining?

Things got a little more intense in class yesterday, with a pile of kupu hou (new words) to learn. Among other things, we started learning basic instructions. Some examples: sit, stand, lie down, get up, wake up, give me, climb up, climb down, draw, and so on.

Mission impossible?

If the long list of instructional words we need to learn is not intimidating enough, the hei mahi (exercise) we have to prepare for is somewhat mind-blowing for me.

We tauira (students) have been divided into three groups. Two weeks from now, each group has to go to the kīhini (kitchen) in the wharekai (dining hall) and present a cooking show. I am comfortable with cooking, but the challenge is this: we have to do it in te reo Māori!

The list of words and sentences we are going to have to learn to be able to do that appears somewhat overwhelming just now. I do know the names of most kitchen appliances and utensils (for example, a microwave oven is umu tira, a mixer is mīhini kōrori, a pot is kōhua, a fridge is pouaka makariri, and so on). However, I cannot even imagine saying something like “place the mixture into the oven and bake at 180°C for an hour”!

Hopefully we will be more prepared in two weeks from now, but at the moment it seems like an impossible mission. Watch this space!



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