Topic: Tommy Kapai Wilson

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Tommy talks about Te Reo Maori.

Sometimes we need a reminder about just how far we have come as a culturally cool country. No better was that reminder evident than at Te Puna School recently when the regional finals for the Manukorero speech contests were held.

Twenty schools from across the Western Bay competed. The level of contestants had the audience spellbound as they listened to hot topics such as Rina, rugby and religion, all woven into the beautiful language of Te Reo that was once banned from the very same school seventy years ago.

Waiwhakaata Honfleur Tangitu/Wilson - winner of KK1 Manukorero 2011..

Waiwhakaata Honfleur Tangitu/Wilson - winner of KK1 Manukorero 2011.

For me to sit in stunned silence listening to my daughter speak this beautiful language was one of life's highlights. Not because it was my 7-year old daughter Waiwhakaata standing on the stage – and, sure, I was bursting with pride on that count. But more so for my mother and her generation who could not stand and speak for fear of being punished.

Those dark days are long behind us now. Even half-castes like me can have a crack at Te Reo Maori, getting it wrong most of the time as I stumble along with my pronunciation. But for me and many others it’s all about having a go.

Te Reo Maori it is a language we should all celebrate as we move forward together as a culturally cool country. Judging by the level of korero in our schools across Tauranga Moana the language is very much alive and conversing.

Tommy Kapai Wilson.

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Tommy Kapai Wilson

First Names:Tommy
Last Name:Wilson