Kāpiti Community Corrections staff learn te reo Māori. The Kāpiti Community Corrections team has proven its willingness to learn te reo Māori and make changes in their workspace.

The team has just completed a 10-week te reo Māori beginners’ course, and are now confident using te reo phrases around the office and with people in their care.

"As part of achieving the goals of the department's Hōkai Rangi strategy we acknowledge we need to be more confident using te reo Māori in the workplace and we're keen to continue this journey. It’s a positive step in the right direction," says Service Manager Jono Turner.

“Staff are now commonly using te reo greetings around the office both to each other, and also men and women they are managing. They seem significantly more confident with their pronunciation. To understand a culture, the best start is to learn the language. I feel this helps us work more responsively with Māori in our care. It’s also been a great team building activity, with staff improving each week.

Classes were one hour each week, via a mix of Zoom and in-person lessons, and included an opening karakia, pepeha, conversational language, and closing waiata.

“We learned whakataukī – with my personal favourite, mauri mahi, mauri ora - through work, we prosper,” says Jono. "We’ve also incorporated a kupu o te ra (word of the day) into our daily stand-up hui to help increase our vocabulary over time.”

Learning the importance of the macron also provided a push to get a macron on the main building sign for Kāpiti Community Corrections.

“Feedback from staff has been very positive, and while it put people out of their comfort zone, I’m proud of how they all gave it a go in a safe environment where everyone supported each other,” he says.