Sharon and Alan Holt
The team at Te Reo Singalong is led by Sharon and Alan Holt, who write, publish, market and sell Te Reo Singalong books from their home in Te Aroha. They also love travelling to centres and schools to perform the books for children and teachers. It’s a very busy life, full of fun and challenges. Fortunately, they get along well together!
Madelize made Te Reo Singalong books possible. In April 2011, she believed in the idea of Te Reo Singalong books enough to back the project financially. She truly values the importance and benefits of a bilingual New Zealand and we are all grateful for her support. Madelize is still a valued part of the team, and is always at the end of the phone when a difficult business question arises.
Deb has been committed to the success of Te Reo Singalong books from the beginning. She has been an integral team member, illustrating and designing most of the books in the series. Her beautiful illustrations have brought these books to life for children all around New Zealand.
Stacy turns our words into music with her awesome composition skills. She also sings in the recording studio – yes, hers is that beautiful voice on the sound track! Some of her four children have also appeared with her in the studio and in the books! Stacy is a wonderful part of our Te Reo Singalong team – always coming up with catchy new tunes for each book.
Before Graeme moved to Australia, he worked as part of the Te Reo Singalong team with Stacy to write the songs and sing in the studio. You can hear his booming voice on many of our songs, including Maranga Mai and Matariki!
Caleb is an awesome team member with many wonderful talents. He records, mixes and masters our songs, as well as adding guitar tracks, percussion, sound effects and harmonies.
Sophie is our talented photographer and daughter. She took many of the photos in our Waitangi book and all of the photos in our pets book, Taku Mōkai. Sophie also took the photos for our flash cards. We love having her on the team.
Teachers and children all over New Zealand love Te Reo Singalong books because they make it fun and easy to gain confidence in using te reo Māori. Each book turns into a catchy song with repetitive sentence structure. The gorgeous illustrations help to bring the story to life and each book is packed with extra resources that teachers love: English translation, glossary, activity ideas and guitar chords! Many teachers say these are the best Māori language resources they have every purchased – and the books have won several awards.
Sharon Holt started learning te reo in 2002, when she also worked as a relief teacher in early childhood centres and schools. As her own confidence in the Māori language grew, she realised that most teachers in English medium schools and centres didn’t have enough confidence to go beyond the basics in te reo: colours, numbers, greetings and a few commands. She also noticed that there were very few Māori language resources that were easy for teachers to use.
Sharon was already an author, and wondered if she could create a series of books that would help teachers to use more te reo with children and have fun in the process! She came up with the idea of Te Reo Singalong books, and searched in vain for a publisher to back the idea. Finally, in 2011, her friend Madelize Bekker put her financial help behind the series – and the books have been a success ever since.
Te reo Māori is one of our official languages and deserves respect. It’s also a very beautiful language that’s in danger of being lost. Sharon is passionate about making it possible for teachers to move forward in their confidence to use more te reo Māori in the classroom. That’s what drives her to continue writing and publishing more Te Reo Singalong books, and dedicating her time and efforts to making sure that every early childhood centre and primary school in New Zealand is a place where a love of te reo can flourish.
Sharon dreams of a day when all New Zealand children can grow up bilingual. She’s doing her best to encourage children to have a love and ease for te reo from an early age. She also believes it’s important for all New Zealanders to show respect for the Māori language and culture by pronouncing our greetings, place names, flora and fauna correctly. To help with this, she presents her simple five step te reo pronunciation workshops to prove that the Māori language is actually a very easy language to pronounce.