Faerie stories: How Tākaro Tribe is introducing Kiwi kids to Te Reo

by North & South / 30 June, 2018

The characters of Tākaro Tribe.

New TV series Tākaro Tribe aims to get children learning te reo Māori.

“O” is the smallest but the bravest, “U” can be incredibly shy, and “I” – who is easily excited and just can’t keep still – sounds like she might have a touch of ADHD.

Meet the cast of the Tākaro Tribe, a new TV series featuring animated woodland sprites whose adventures in the Wao Arapū (Alphabet Forest) are designed to introduce young children to te reo Māori. The bilingual show – aimed primarily at preschoolers – will screen on TVNZ 2 on weekday mornings from May 28, with a full te reo version on Māori Television at the end of July.

Producer Nicole Hoey says she was initially inspired by patupaiarehe, “the naughty fairies of Māori mythology”, and each of the five key characters are named after a Māori vowel. “A lot of my friends have trouble with sounding out the Māori vowels, so I thought I’d turn them into characters.”

“Tākaro” means “to play”, and each episode follows the sprites’ adventures through a magic paua portal into the human world. All the animations are based on original drawings, and voice actors include Rawiri Paratene and Piripi Taylor, who voiced Maui in last year’s te reo version of the Disney film Moana

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