Sunday October 23, 2016   Last updated 10:24AM

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Language assistants can boost reo capacity

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An advocate for a new way of teaching Te Reo Māori in primary and secondary schools says the time to act is now.

Raewyn Harrison is seeking $170,000 in government funding for a pilot project to put Māori language assistants into North Shore and Hibiscus Coast schools.

She says the model is working well with Mandarin learners, and it is easily adapted to give children half an hour a week of Māori language basics, culture and tikanga.

"The argument was that we couldn't have Te Reo in our mainstream schools because there were not enough teachers who had the reo. With this model the teacher stays in the classroom and it is the language assistant that goes in and delivers the lesson so therefore not only are the children getting Te Reo, the teacher is being upskilled as well so it gives them confidence so that builds capacity for the school," she says.

Ms Harrison says schools are more open to diversity, and a basic understanding of Te Reo Māori can be part of that.

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