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Meet our Māori Specialists

Published: 24 September 2019

Coming from across Auckland Council’s 55 libraries, Māori specialists are here to help.

They provide a wide range of services – from one-on-one whakapapa (family history) sessions to te reo Māori storytimes for children, there’s somebody to help everyone.

Te Wiki o te reo Māori (Māori Language Week) may have come to an end for the year, but we’re continuing in its spirit by introducing you to some of our libraries’ Māori specialists.

The two librarians we’ll introduce you to, Rereahu Collier and Ariana Howell, are participating in Mahuru Māori. For the month of September, they will be speaking only in Maori.

Rereahu Collier, Poutoko Ratonga Māori - Librarian Māori, Pukekohe Library

Tell us a bit about your role. What does an average day look like for you?

Ko tōku ao Māori ka whiua ki te ao katoa. My Māori worldview is what I showcase to the world every day in my role as a Poutoko, Ratonga Māori. I push for services to reach our hāpori (community), in the hopes that it ignites a passion for knowledge within our tamariki (children). Every day has a different approach, and to say that there is only one way to see it is very difficult, but my focus is towards our hāpori and the mana whenua of Pukekohe.

What’s your favourite part of this role?

Through the work that we action within our community we are playing a part in revitalising our culture, and on a special occasion such as Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori we express our love for te reo Māori more actively. The things we do revolving around te ao Māori (the Māori world) make my role worthwhile, and through my love for te reo Māori & Tikanga Māori I find a passion for my work in the Libraries.

Why do you think it’s important to participate in Mahuru Māori?

Mahuru Māori is one of the many initiatives to promote te reo Māori. Currently, it is an endangered language and we are doing our best to preserve it. Mahuru Māori provides a challenge for those who are learning te reo Māori. Whereas for those who are fluent it adds a challenge to those around them to learn and understand te reo Māori. Te reo Māori should not be limited to just one month of the year, but it is definitely a start.

Ariana Howell, Kaikōkiri Ratonga Māori - Senior Library Assistant Maori, Ōtara Library

What does your role involve? What does an average day look like for you?

My role involves working with and for the community here in Ōtara as well as the rest of Tāmaki Makaurau. On an average day I’m helping people at the library, going through our book collections, and then off down the road to deliver a programme to local Kohanga Reo. That’s definitely one of my favourite things to do.

What part of your role are you most passionate about?

I’m most passionate about kaupapa Māori. How to acknowledge these different kaupapa (Matariki, Te Wiki o te Reo Māori, Whakatipu i te Reo Māori to name a few) and planning events around these kaupapa is so much fun and definitely has its challenges. I recently attended the hīkoi at Maungakiekie last Thursday with my fellow Māori specialists and it was humbling to be able to contribute to such a powerful atmosphere. It’s cool as well, to be repping Ōtara Library and Auckland Libraries at such events.

Why do you feel it’s important to participate in Mahuru Māori?

This year is the second year that I have participated in Mahuru Māori. I do it because I feel it’s a way of normalising te reo Māori in these public spaces, it’s a way of challenging the everyday interactions I have with the community and I can honestly say that 99% of those interactions are positive and usually end up in the customer asking what a particular word is in Māori or using ALL the Māori they know to interact with me. It’s quite empowering on both sides! And of course, it aligns directly with Auckland Libraries promise to ‘whakatipu i te reo Māori’ (grow the Māori language) in a fun and challenging way. It also helps me to identify the people in our community who do speak Māori, which is awesome because I can then converse with them in Māori every time they come in.

More about Maori Collections and Services

  • Our Māori specialists are available for one-on-one and group sessions. You can arrange to see them in person.
  • Auckland Libraries regularly host events and activities with a Māori kaupapa (topic). To stay up to date, sign up to the Libraries’ events and activities newsletter.
  • Some libraries, including Tāmaki Pātaka Kōrero (Central City Library), have specially designated areas for hui (meetings) and wānanga (conferences or seminars). Check with your local library to book.
  • Māori collections (books, music, magazines etc.) are housed across Auckland, from North to South to East to West Auckland, they are easily accessible for all Aucklanders.
  • We also have a selection of Māori book lists to help you choose your next read.
Read more: Libraries

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