Highlanders Teihorangi Walden and Rob Thompson teamed up with primary school children to celebrate te reo Maori as part of the Little Landers Literature programme.
During the sessions, the players and children performed a karakia, played Maori games, sung waiatas and read books in te reo.
The second and final session was held last Thursday.
Ngai Tahu representative and iwi support Paulette Tamati-Elliffe said the programme was a great way to promote literature with a focus on te reo Maori.
“For us it’s about valuing our Maori language as an official language of New Zealand.”
She said it was fantastic to have Walden and Thompson, who speak the language, join the sessions.
“They’re great role models for these Maori language speakers.”
It was great to celebrate it outside Maori Language Week as a way to normalise speaking Maori in society.
She was pleased to support the project.
The children, from Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Otepoti and Te Ropu Manaaki, received certificates, and Raylene Butler-Gage (10) won tickets to the Highlanders game.
Raylene said she felt “so happy and very excited” to win.
The session was “amazing, fun and awesome”.
Thompson, who is learning te reo Maori, said it was great the language was being revived.
He enjoyed listening to the children speak the language, as it was something he missed out on growing up.
Little Landers Literature programme is a Dunedin Unesco City of Literature initiative in partnership with the Pulse Energy Highlanders.