So, why indeed?
I’ve always had an interest in languages. I speak fluent Hebrew – which I learnt the immersion method i.e. living in Israel for 12 years. I’ve thought of other languages that I’d like to to learn like German which is both my parents mother tongue. Spanish and Japanese would be interesting too. But I live in Aotearoa and the first language here is Maori. Since I’ve been here I’ve been drawn to the Maori culture and I passionately believe that its important to preserve this language – the whole culture of a people is embedded in the language. Lose the language, lose the culture. Living here, I feel its my responsibility to do my small part. It dosn’t really feel like my learning Maori could make any difference but hey I guess if everyone said that about what they believe in, nothing would happen. I suppose I feel a bit like an ambassador but that’s just the start of it. There are many other thoughts and feelings that I have as I continue on this journey.
Of course I’m also doing this for my own personal reasons. I want to feel as though I can achieve something. My sense of self worth has a low default setting. Having past the 50 year old mark, I’m probably going through a mid life crisis – I have questions about the purpose of my life and what it is that I have achieved. I brought up my beautiful son as best as I could. I worked as a counsellor/ support worker/ advocate for people who were marginalised either by disability or difference or trauma or any combination of those. Maybe I made a little bit of a difference.. ? Maybe very slightly with a couple of people for a short time. Now its time for this new journey, wherever it takes me.
At the end of the day when all is said and done I am falling in love with te reo Maori and every day I learn a little more about the culture, the tikanga and I love it all the more. Can you have a love affair with a language?