Languages and Te Reo Māori

Learning a language at St Mary's is to embrace our differences by contrasting these with those of a new culture; to create opportunities for communication, and promote curiosity in a safe environment where students can take risks and grow.

Nowadays learning a language is essential while traveling, globalisation and international trading are increasingly developing.

Being able to speak another language opens a door to new jobs, new countries, new opportunities, new experiences. Whatever the career option students choose, knowing another language presents a huge asset for their future.

St Mary’s languages classes have 3 major areas of focus (linked to NZ Curriculum):

  • Cultural understanding
  • Communication
  • Language knowledge

Year 9 students can choose two languages between Te Reo Māori (refer to Te Tari Māori), Samoan, Japanese, and French.  In year 10, students can carry on one of their year 9 language. (Two languages may be learnt in discussion with Ako and language teacher.)

With the increase of technology and rapid improvement of translation applications and devices, Languages teachers believe in the importance of the emphasis of the cultural and communication aspects of a language instead of the focus on the language knowledge only.

A new program for Junior level has been created.

Year 9 students will learn about food in Samoan, Japanese and French cultures as well as basic greetings and politeness components. They will learn the alphabet in different languages as well as using calligraphy to write Japanese characters.  Basic skills such as introducing themselves and their family will be included in the program.

In year 10, we maintain a cultural and communication focus but ensure also students have enough language knowledge content to be ready for Senior level and NCEA expectation.

In the Senior school students develop more knowledge of language skills in the target cultural language context.  Teachers use immersion teaching style ensuring communication and conversational practices.

Each language has an objective to offer as many authentic activities in target language as possible and maintain a strong connection with the community.  Screenings at the cinema, pen pals, students exchange with sister schools, overseas trips, food making … Tū Tangata, Speech competition, short films competition are some example of activities we offer to our students.