Every week is te reo week at King Street Artworks, says Jenny Katene-Morgan. PHOTO/ALEYNA MARTINEZ


“A safe space to make mistakes in front of others is important when it comes to learning te reo,” the Māori Arts and Craft Tutor at King Street Artworks in Masterton says.

Jenny Katene-Morgan runs the te reo class there every Tuesday from 11am to noon.

For her, every week was te reo week and she was proud to see the increase in Wairarapa residents wanting to learn to speak te reo.

“It’s overwhelming how many people want to immerse themselves in Māori culture and feel comfortable doing so,” Katene-Morgan said.

“Wairarapa is special because here our marae allow them to do so and express themselves.”

King Street Artworks acted as a preventative measure for residents to address mental health issues before they reached crisis level.

Inclusion and providing self-esteem for King Street artists was a big part of teaching te reo to Pākehā and Māori who haven’t had access to their native language while growing up in New Zealand.

Katene-Morgan said “her job was about encouraging people to have the confidence to stand and introduce themselves in the formal Maori cultural way, called a pepeha.

“In Māoridom, we identify ourselves by local mountain, river, marae, and our name,” she said.

Katene Morgan said she preferred people not worry about being told off for pronunciation as she was when she was young – “making mistakes and having fun is the only way you’re going to learn”, she said.