A cure for insomnia. That’s what Lidu was looking for when he started learning Te Reo.
He wanted something that was both challenging and repetitive. It wasn’t about learning a language. Lidu had already given up on that when living in his native China.
He’d tried English. There were no textbooks or English speakers around, so he learned with the aid of a dictionary and a single grammar book. It was eight years before Lidu had the opportunity to speak the English language. Then he tried German. Then Japanese. Neither went anywhere. Lidu decided that was it for languages.
Much later, long after Lidu moved to New Zealand, where he finally got to put his English into use, he took up a job at Te Wānanga o Aotearoa. He had to learn a few phrases for his job.
Then came the insomnia. But instead of being bored by learning Te Reo, he was entranced. In Lidu’s words “it created a miracle”.
He broke from traditional language learning methods, and began learning the grammar that the people used around him. That’s how he discovered the keys to Maori beliefs and wisdoms; Karakia, tauparapara (Prayer, tribal incantations) the legendary stories and the Moteatea (chants), the songs and the Whakatauki (proverbs).
Being from a religion-free country, Wairua (spirituality) was new to him. Lidu found himself in a new world.
As Lidu describes it, Te Reo is not only interpersonal communication, it is also intrapersonal. The language started a dialogue within himself, and the more he learned the more he was drawn into it.
It became a very enjoyable journey. An enlightening one. He felt transformed.
Lidu would just like to say, “Ka mau te wehi o Te Reo, ko Te Reo Te Reo rangatira, no reira kia kaha tatou ki te akoranga o Te Reo” (How terrific is the Maori language, the chiefly language. We must all try hard to learn Te Reo Maori).
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