Tutor for Māori 101, 2022
Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāti Ruanui
- Diploma in Te Tohu Paetahi
- Bachelor of Arts
- Māori and Indigenous Studies
- Te Tohu Paetahi
- Whītiki Tauira with Te Pūoho ki Te Toka a Tirikawa, Tauranga campus, 2022
- Member of Te Āhurutanga Māori Student Leadership Programme, 2022
- Tutor for Māori 101, 2022
Growing up in Hawke’s Bay, Reremoana’s first language was te reo Māori. However, once she moved out of home, without being involved in kaupapa Māori, much of her reo was lost. She wanted to get it back.
In 2021, Rere left her job at Silver Fern Farms in Whakatū and moved to Tauranga to study a Diploma in Te Tohu Paetahi (TTP).
“I always loved time spent in Tauranga Mōana so when I came across Te Tohu Paetahi, the thought of learning my language again whilst being surrounded by the water was one of the easiest decisions for me to make,” she says. “I wanted to strip it right back to the basics and be immersed in Te Ao Māori.”
According to Rere, the one-year immersion programme was challenging but also one of the best things she’s ever done.
One of the highlights was completing the course with two of her best mates, Maddison Freestone and Awhina Black, who all met in Dunedin more than six years ago and have been friends ever since.
“We all had the same desire to learn te reo Māori and just so happened to all end up in Tauranga Mōana at the same time. Having them there daily really helped with my whakawhanaungatanga,” says Rere.
After completing Te Tohu Paetahi, Rere says she felt a huge shift in her wairua and wanted to expand her knowledge. She credited the diploma to a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Psychology and Māori and Indigenous Studies and is doing a mix of face-to-face classes in Tauranga and Hamilton, plus a few online. Once she’s finished, Rere wants to pursue postgraduate studies.
Eventually, Rere hopes to work in a Te Ao Māori environment helping young Māori and Māori communities. She's already making a difference through her role as a mentor with Te Pūoho ki Te Toka a Tirikawa, by supporting Māori students as they begin their study journey at the Tauranga campus.
"Knowing that I am there for Māori students is what I enjoy most about being a whītiki tauira for Te Toka a Tirikawa," she says. "Being able to assist and provide āwhina where I can gives me a real sense of joy."