Maori-speaking Pa Enua skippers can get certified

Saturday January 18, 2020 Written by Published in Education
Maritime technical manager Saungaki Rasmussen with fire officers Raymond Pirangi and Christiano George,e attending the Boat Masters certificate course. Maritime technical manager Saungaki Rasmussen with fire officers Raymond Pirangi and Christiano George,e attending the Boat Masters certificate course. 20011633

Airport Authority fire officer Christiano George is thrilled the boat masters certificate course is now conducted by a tutor fluent in Maori and English.

Taking part in the course is now a lot easier to understand, said George, who is from the island of Mauke.

More people in the Pa Enua will now put their hands up to attend the course and get certified, George said.

“Maori is the first language for many of us, and all of us from the Pa Enua grow up speaking Maori, we are not comfortable or confident talking in the English language; having a tutor fluent in Maori will and does make a difference.”

George grew up fishing on his home island and completed his first boat masters course many years ago. He noted the new modules added to the course, of which he is spending more time on studying.

Airport Authority fire officer Raymond Pirangi says the course is interesting, challenging and new. “It has been good; this certificate will allow us to skipper a boat in compliance with the Maritime safety requirements.”

Maritime technical manager Saungaki Rasmussen undertook responsibility for boat masters last year.

It’s a struggle sometimes for Pa Enua participants who are not thoroughly familiar with the English language, he said. He tried his best to interpret, into a language that they could understand.

“As we already know, for the Pa Enua they are comfortable conversing in Maori or their own dialect, so as a local tutor you have to accommodate for this,” he explained. “There is no point in teaching the course in a language they don’t understand, that they can’t grasp or else they don’t care.”

Two sessions were run on Rarotonga this week: morning sessions targeted at government departments, and afternoon tutorials for the private sector such as charter fishing boats.

Last September Rasmussen delivered the boat masters lectures in Mauke and Atiu; plans are underway to conduct the programme on Aitutaki, Mangaia and Mitiaro before the end of this financial year.

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