Te reo challenge race gets heart racing

Monday 23 July 2012, 12:20PM
By Massey University

Teams tested their te reo in an Amazing Race across Massey University’s Manawatū campus.

Massey this year has decided to celebrate a month of Māori Language, Te Marama o Te Reo, and held last week a te reo challenge in preparation for Māori Language Week.

Sheeanda Field, Kaihautu Māori/Māori Services Manager said the Amazing Race encouraged people to get active and speak te reo, and was called Arohaita te Manawa (cherish the heart).

Three teams of four, including staff and students across colleges, fluent te reo speakers and beginners, were given clues and a Māori dictionary for the race modelled on the reality television show.

“It’s a fun way of using te reo, and it’s a fun way to involve all staff and students. It’s about getting it out there, and celebrating and cherishing te reo Māori,” Ms Field said. “Anyone can give it a go.”

Teams started at Te Putahi-a-Toi, School of Māori Studies and made their way to University House where they had to perform a waiata (song), then raced to the student cafeteria, library and recreation centre, before finishing at the campus.

Teaching and Learning teaching consultant Katarina Gray-Sharp said the event made te reo accessible. “It makes te reo something you can enjoy using, instead of feeling like it’s something difficult.”

Psychology Master students Renee Smith and Diane Koti were among the participants and said the event was fun and supported the kaupapa.

Husband and wife team, Dawn McKenzie, from the library, and Tom Roberston, from the School of Engineering and Advanced Technology, wanted to put their language skills to the test.

“We just wanted to try our Māori out, and see how we get on,” Mrs McKenzie said. “It’s a good way to practice what we learnt at the culture flow course a year or so ago.”

The Amazing Race is one of many activities that the University is providing for staff and students during the Maori Language Month at the University. Massey has its home page in te reo, online quiz in Māori on the website and the return of kōrero kawhe, students and staff who order their coffee at campus café’s in Māori receive a bilingual fortune cookie for their efforts.

Other activities include te reo classes, cultural waiata (song) practises, student thesis presentations given in te reo, Maori sports day, and a traditional hangi.

This Friday a full-scale collaborative te reo Amazing Race will be held with teams from Massey University, UCOL, Te Wananga o Aotearoa and the Palmerston North City Council where they will travel around Palmerston North trying to find clues, and completing activities along the journey.

For more information contact Sheeanda Field –

Link to quiz: