Whaea Pioi is 70 years old, a native speaker from Tūhoe. She has 19 grandchildren and 9 great grandchildren. For many years, Whaea Pioi was actively involved with the local Kōhanga Reo (language nest).
“Many parents would bring their children to Kōhanga Reo. Some of the parents could not speak Māori. There was no Māori language being spoken at home with the children. I wanted to teach the parents.”
In 2006, at 65 years of age, Whaea Pioi became a trained Te Ataarangi tutor and graduated with a degree in Māori Immersion Teaching.
“I had to teach the parents to speak Māori so that they could pass the language to their children and grandchildren.”