Kei Hapanī e whakahaerehia ana te Ipu Whutupōro o te Ao, te Webb Ellis , Ko te whānau Ellison is kōkori ana i te reo, i te Kōhanga reo ki reira. Ko Te Kōhanga reo o Ngakami  te ingoa koia hoki ko te wāhi e noho ana te whanau.

Nā Whakaata Maori Te Ao i rapu i tēnei pūrongo.

Rugby is strong in the whakapapa of the Ellison brothers, their great-great grand uncle Thomas Rangiwahia Ellison was the first rugby captain to wear the silver fern. All the brothers are currently playing for the Kurita rugby club in Japan and in the interest of making sure their tamariki have te reo Māori, they have created their own kōhanga reo.

The language is alive and thriving at Japan’s newest kōhanga.

The name of this kōhanga reo is Te Kōhanga reo o Nakagami. It’s the name of the area we live in, in Akishima,” says Leon Ellison.

I was raised in Te Ao Māori and naturally, I want my children to experience this world even though we’re living abroad,” says Leon’s wife Rongorito Ellison.

For 7-months Leon and Rongorito have been running their Kōhanga from out of their home.

“We try and do everything a Kōhanga reo in Aotearoa would do like karakia, waiata, mōteatea and mihimhi,” says Leon.

“He’s an awesome teacher, and is good at creating and teaching lessons,” says Rongorito.

Leon moved to Akishima to sign with the Kuritawatergush Rugby club and play with his brothers, former All Black Tamati Ellison and former Super Rugby player Jacob Ellison. In total, they have 8 tamariki, all homeschooled.

“I also teach my children, it makes it easier where ever we are in the world,” says Tamati.

They’ve been playing rugby for 15-years and they want their tamariki to be prepared to be fully immersed in te reo Māori should they return to Aotearoa next year.

“I hope my children will use their reo and be confident so that they can converse with their tūpuna,” says Leon.

In the future, they hope to share their reo with their Japanese friends.

Kōhanga Reo ki Hapanī