Te Wiki o te Reo Māori: Brett Cowan

Department of Conservation —  05/07/2013

To celebrate Te Wiki o te Reo Māori – Māori Language Week we enjoy a kōrero about te reo with Brett Cowan, Community Relations Ranger, Kaikoura

Brett helping at Wairau Bar archeological dig.

Brett helping at Wairau Bar archeological dig

My level of te reo fluency is…

Kei te whakamahana te paepae. Intermediate level. I promote Te Mita O Kāi Tahu/Ngāi Tahu dialect.

The Māori name of my hometown and the story behind that name is…

Kaikoura is the short version as the early settlers couldn’t pronounce “Te Ahi Kaikoura O Tama Ki Te Raki”.

Tamakiteraki was a great traveller of Te Waipounamu/South Island. Kaikoura was one of his favourite sites to stop. In particular, the Kaikoura Peninsula, where he would gather koura/crayfish. The koura were so plentiful he would only need to collect them from the rock pools, requiring only his ankles to get wet as they lay on top of each other six-deep in the pool. Te Ahi Kaikoura O Tama Ki Te Raki means ‘The place where Tamakiteraki would gather, cook and eat his crayfish’.

Brett strumming his guitar.

Brett strumming away

My tip to help you learn/practice te reo is…

Most people only korero 5% of te reo they know, and keep 95% hidden. My challenge to you is to korero 95% of what you know and only keep 5% to yourself.

My te reo challenge of the day is… 

If someone mispronounces a Māori word or name, without putting them down, try to pronounce it correctly in a sentence.

I reckon you should learn te reo because…

It’s like a muscle in your body. If you don’t use it, it becomes weak.

To me, ‘ensuring my work is in line with the Principles of the Treaty of Waitangi’ means…. 

I am a Māori conservation worker. Not just a conservation worker that happens to be Māori.

One response to Te Wiki o te Reo Māori: Brett Cowan


    Ka wani ke Brett! Was tino pai to spend some of te wiki o te reo Maori with you in Whakatu, learning more about waahi tapu sites there. Nga mihi, Margot