A Taranaki Maori language immersion school says it is helping former pupils keep their reo alive through organising sports events, such as hockey and touch rugby.
Aroaro Tamati who teaches at Te Kopae Piripono in New Plymouth recently received a National Teaching in Excellence Award for her strong commitment to the kura over the past 18 years.
She says one of the things her school enjoys is the independence it has over its curriculum to do things differently from other early childhood education centres.
Mrs Tamati says when pupils are enrolled at Te Kopae they become a whanau member for life and that includes being part of a sports team where only te reo is used on the field.
She says her school chooses different ways to continue to engage as a whanau and not with just those who are currently enrolled.
Aroaro Tamati says over the past 6 years the kura has had more than 100 former pupils now at different mainstream or kura kaupapa schools in the region who play in Kopae hockey teams.
She says there are a number of teams from the little ones through to senior students who proudly wear their uniform and use Te Reo on the hockey field.
In 2004, Te Kopae Piripono was named as a centre of innovation by the ministry of education for promoting among other things leadership and whanau development.
The kura says, whanau development is not just an ideal; it is also an intentional, planned programme of professional, personal, and collective development.