Olive says she feels incredibly privileged to have the āwhi (embrace) and support of her kura, the school’s board of trustees and other Waiheke kaiako.

Waiheke Primary School Deputy Principal Olive Campbell is both teacher and student, studying every week at Auckland University of Technology so that she’s able to confidently pass on te reo and te ao Māori to her students.

Te reo Māori should be a core curriculum subject, says Olive Campbell, Deputy Principal at Waiheke Primary School. Despite this, she says there isn’t yet enough teacher expertise or resources to make this happen, “so we need to work backwards”.

Olive, who is studying te reo at Auckland University of Technology, began learning the language formally around three years ago when another teacher moved off-island. At that time, Olive wanted –  and needed – to step up and lead te reo and organise pōwhiri and hui. She’s been taking a paper at AUT every term since.

“I felt strongly that I wanted our tamariki to have te reo in their classrooms and for it to be embedded in all that we do, not just tokenism,” she says.

Olive is inspired by her students and works hard to embed as much of the language as she can in her classes. As a result, she gets to see how all of her students, Māori tamariki in particular, engage and thrive in that environment. She believes that if her students hear te reo and see their culture being valued every day, they will grow up valuing the reo themselves and become advocates for it.•Sophie Boladeras

Full story in this week’s Gulf News… Out Now

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