Te Kōtare is a Music project, a Vision completed and a tribute to Jenny Shearer, māmā and kaiako (teacher), whose passion to fuse te reo Māori with education has become the Te Kōtare Project. The official release is 18th February 2019, where Jenny will be celebrated as we finally share this collaborative music resource. The education packs are being distributed to all Kura (primary schools) and Early Childhood Education Centres in Aotearoa (NZ) in the first term of 2019 and all waiata (songs) are available on all online music stores, as well as 2 music singles to be released -
E Tā Tohorā - performed by Warren Maxwell, (vocals) Matiu te Huki (guitar), Al Faser - Taonga Puoro, Murray Hewitt (percussion), composed by Jenny and Grant Shearer and Matiu te Huki.
Rangi and Papa - performed by Matiu te Huki (and guitar), Al Faser - Taonga Puoro, Murray Hewitt - (percussion), composed by Jenny Shearer and Matiu te Huki.
How did Te Kōtare begin?
Jenny Shearer was working as a preschool teacher at Little Earth Montessori, on the Kāpiti Coast, when a dream took hold of her. She began by writing one song, Ko te Ngāhere, for her students to sing as they went on their forest walks. The tamariki enjoyed this waiata and would sing it to themselves at preschool, at home, and would often request it as a favourite.
Affected by illness, Jenny left her job in mid-2014 and sharpened her focus on what was most important to her. With the encouragement of her family, and close colleagues, and collaborations with Matiu te Huki (composer/singer) - who would regularly visit Little Earth to teach waiata - her priorities became clear.
In 2014 Jenny wrote “I want to have a collection of songs that I’ve written, about real places, or things in New Zealand, or based on Māori legends that I can take into early childhood centres and kindergartens. What lies behind my dream is a passion I’ve had since studying a biculturalism paper at University."
It’s a passion for all children in New Zealand to grow up experiencing Māori culture as something they can feel comfortable within, enjoy, participate in, and feel confident operating within.
Sadly, Jenny did not survive her illness, and she did not see the completion of her dream.
We are tremendously grateful that Jenny has gifted us with her waiata for the future.
As these waiatas fly through New Zealand/Aotearoa and take on lives of their own, we thank the friends and family who crowdfunded the initial costs of recording, and printing the resource for local distribution; Massey University College of Creative Arts (COCA) and the Ministry of Education and NZ On Air for their support in extending the reach of this resource far beyond what we ever imagined.
Jenny’s deepest hope was simply that they would join the efforts of so many others working to assist people in their journey of learning te reo Māori, so join us at www.tekotare.org.