Poi E inspires new New Zealanders | ELPNZ

Poi E inspires new New Zealanders

03 November 2016

It’s an unusual sight: a Russian, Indian, Chinese, Somali, Burmese, Ethiopian, Yemeni and Korean singing and dancing to The Patea Maori Club’s Poi E. But it is business as usual for our Wellington Centre - infusing creative teaching methods with core curriculum and Te Reo Māori .

Teacher Samantha Jones and ESOL Programmes Coordinator Maddy Harper were inspired by the Poi E song and recent documentary that celebrated . They saw it as a unique way to help learners become comfortable with Te Reo Māori and learn about Māori culture.

This group of migrant and refugee learners are part of the Wellington Centres’ ESOL Intensive Class. They are also new music video stars:


“We first played the music video of Poi E and then watched a video on how to make poi,” says Maddy. “We couldn’t believe how enthusiastic learners were. Watching their poi get tangled up was hilarious. They had so much fun and from what I know of teaching, if you enjoy something you are more likely to retain it”, she says.

Poi E was composed by Dalvanius with Maori language expert Ngoingoi Pewhairangi and performed by the Patea Māori Club. It remains the only song in Te Reo Māori to reach No 1 in the New Zealand charts. It has been in the top 10 in New Zealand every decade for the past 30 years. (Source: NZ Film)

While the poi and singing skills of these learners may not quite match those of the famous Patea Māori Club, their “giving it a go” approach is to be commended. 

Find out more about learning English at our Wellington centre.