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Warren Maxwell

Te Reo Māori Graduate

Warren Maxwell

Warren Maxwell is well known for his music career with bands Trinity Roots, Little Bushman, and Fat Freddy’s Drop. In the early days of Trinity Roots, Warren started learning te reo Māori to reconnect with his whakapapa. Now with a Level 4 Te Reo Māori qualification under his belt, Warren is proud to be teaching beginner classes at UCOL Wairarapa.

“Over the last 20 years, I had been picking up te reo as I went. My mum is a fluent speaker, so I sat with her and kōrero i te reo Māori, but I wanted to dedicate more time to learning the language,” says Warren.

Warren enrolled in UCOL Wairarapa’s Te Pōkaitahi Reo (Reo Rua) (Te Kaupae 4) – New Zealand Certificate in Te Reo (Bilingual) ( Level 4) – after hearing that kaumātua Mike Kawana was teaching the programme.

“I have known matua Mike for a few years, so it is a real privilege to hear him talk about his passion for te reo and Wairarapatanga.”

“I love the laid-back relaxed approach of Mike’s teaching. He takes away the stress of traditional academic learning. I feel like I learn more when I’m not stressing out!”

Warren enjoyed hanging out and sharing stories with his classmates.

“Our cohort was diverse, with a wide range of ages. Most of the students have whakapapa to this area, so I loved hearing stories of Wairarapa and people’s connections to the region.”

After completing Te Pōkaitahi Reo (Reo Rua) (Te Kaupae 4), Warren joined the UCOL teaching team as a mentor for the Te Reo Māori for Beginners programme. He brings plenty of teaching experience to the role, as he is also an Associate Professor of Commercial Music at Massey University in Wellington. 

“I appreciate the opportunity to study and teach te reo Māori at UCOL. I see there is a growing demand from all sectors of our community to learn te reo – people are starting to realise the beauty and value of our language.”

“Studying Level 4 gave me the confidence to teach te reo. One of my biggest challenges was feeling inadequate as Māori because I didn’t know the language or that I was saying things the wrong way. Matua Mike encouraged us to make mistakes and realise that making mistakes is part of the learning.”

Warren says he’s enjoying being able to teach two subjects that he has long-held passions for. 

“I would be happy if I could continue doing what I’m doing – teaching a bit of music, a bit of te reo Māori, and maintaining a happy whānau at home. I love being engaged with my community of Featherston as well. I feel very lucky and privileged to be a small cog in a big wheel.”

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