My name is Roimata Smail. I am a human rights lawyer, specialising for nearly two decades in the Treaty of Waitangi. You can see more about me at smail.nz. I also have a consultancy providing workshops on the Treaty of Waitangi for organisations, and have presented to a number of schools. To check this out go to www.treatytraining.com.
I initially created Wai Ako to help my husband Sam who is is an English medium primary school teacher of two decades experience. He wanted to learn te Reo Māori with his year 3 students but as a beginner didn't know where to start or even how to pronounce most of the words. As a long time learner of te Reo I understood the challenges. With my husband testing every step of the way, I came up with some waiata that he could use to get singing some key phrases - with correct pronunciation! We soon realised that the waiata might be of use to other teachers and I turned them into the Wai Ako programme.
I am excited that I have been able to put my experience as a lawyer to use in Wai Ako, with our first NZ history and Treaty of Waitangi lessons added in 2021 (more are being added all the time).
Wai Ako was launched in 2017 and now is being used by over twenty thousand children throughout Aotearoa.