Our hikoi (journey) in Poihakena (Australia) begun in mid 2013 with our first classes commencing in September 2013. We acknowledge the many independent kohanga who have gone before us in laying the foundation for what we are today.
A small team of 3 wahine (women) leaders and 1 kuia responded to the long standing karanga (calling) of the Maori people in Sydney and decided enough was enough; and so the movement of Te Kohanga Reo in Sydney Australia was born.
Our first kohanga of the movement opened within an early learning childcare centre located in Macquarie Fields, South West Sydney. The vision to start Te Kohanga Reo was shared with the director, Miss Jean, and so the concept of a “language room” within an early learning centre was also born. This is an example to other Indigenous peoples who wish to teach their preschool aged children their language. It is from within this language room that we operate Whetu Marama Te Kohanga Reo using the Te Kohanga Reo Early Childhood Education Program.
Our second kohanga was opened at Riverwood, and introduced to the wider Australian community the concept of Te Kohanga Reo Playgroup Education. This was quickly followed by our third and fourth kohanga at Minto West and St Clair. All three of these locations now run our Te Kohanga Reo Playgroup Education Program.
It is from this foundation that the movement has grounded itself for its expansion to other locations throughout Sydney and also begins the pathway to providing Te Reo Maori in Australia. This educational pathway will be unified by Te Kohanga Reo, Kura Kaupapa Maori, Whare Kura Maori, Te Whare Waananga and also Maori Language Classes for mainstream public and private primary and high schools in Australia.