© New Zealand Broadcasting School 2020

The rise of reo

Grace Thomas

The owners of Fush restaurant, known for their overwhelmingly popular te reo Māori lessons, are hitting the road.

Fush owner, Anton Matthews, says the tides are changing and he wants to keep up with demand. 

Matthews launched Fush's free te reo Māori classes in Ōtautahi last year, with a huge response from locals.

Now he is taking their food caravan to nine towns and cities across Te Waipounamu (the South Island) over the next month. 

"We've been sort of inundated with people around the country saying we want this in our town and we've said 'if you actually do want this in your community, we can do that.'

"We'll jump in the car, bring some staff along, cook some food and teach you some te reo," Matthews said. 

He thinks the popularity is down to Fush being a small, whānau owned business. 

"When you walk into a formal Māori environment, like at a polytech or university, that can be quite daunting."

Matthews says people are worried they'll be criticised for getting it wrong, but he just wants people to give it a go and realise it's okay to make mistakes. 

If you're interested in doing it, he says: "you just gotta do it."