International choir sings nga waiata for Festival of Adult Learning

Learner Stories

During the Festival of Adult Learning 2019, Our Palmerston North centre’s ESOL Intensive class lent their voices to the waiata practice group at the City Library.

We began with friendly greetings in Karen, Nepali, English and Maori – thanks to one lovely lady who’s taken the time to learn from our learners.

The session then started, as usual, with a  formal karakia that begins and ends each session. These karakia have been carefully chosen and translated into English and cover a range of spiritual views – meaning everybody from English Language Partners (ELP) feels included and comfortable.

Learning English and Māori waiata

This week, the group sang songs they had already learned at ELP, including Tutira Mai, Te Aroha, and E Tu Kahikatea.  They also practised a precious Rangitane waiata that is about the importance of the local maunga Turanga (introduced and taught by a Rangitane leader, Nuwyne Te Awe Awe Mohi in last week’s session).

Another waiata they sang had male and female roles within it, and this led to some discussion about life on the Marae.

Thanks to the kind and inclusive vibe of these sessions run by City Library staff, Te Tiriti o Waitangi is enlivened for our learners.

The love of the tangata whenua for the natural environment and people of Aotearoa is expressed when the songs are explained and is felt by all participants through the beauty of the music.

Each individual’s voice is encouraged and heard in the waiata.

Through these regular visits,  learners also discover that the library is the ‘Living Room’ of the city and that they are welcome to meet friends, use the computers, borrow books, read magazines and take part in community events.

Back in the classroom, during this festival week, learners connected more deeply with each other and with their teacher and volunteer by sharing stories of their childhood homes and their current housing situations.

Stories were recorded in video and will continue to be improved over the next few weeks with emphasis on pronunciation practice and grammar. The stories will be saved on their individual google accounts as google docs during computer class.

Other highlights were learning to play a competitive quiz game in a friendly way while practising English, planning a summer jaunt to Palmerston North’s new river bridge, He Ara Kotahi, and continuing to search out a budget chicken coop and a free chicken for home egg production.

Writer: Mary Legg

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ESOL Intensive

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