As Māori language week begins one of the nation’s oldest representatives’ groups, Te Kaunihera Māori o Aotearoa, the New Zealand Māori Council, has called on more Kiwis to know a little more Te Reo and to not be afraid to use a few kupu (words) every day. National Executive Member, Tane Cook, who Chairs the Council’s Te Reo, Culture and Community Committee has said that while more Kiwis are embracing Te Reo others can make a difference with a few words to start off with:
“Te Reo Māori is not just one of our national languages its part of our culture, the fabric of our history and a defining aspect that sets all of us apart from other countries. My message this Māori language week is for those who are worried they won’t pronounce the words properly to still have a go using things such as “Kia Ora” or “Mörena”. Then there are words such as “Whānau” for family and “Mahi” for work. So, four our non-Māori brothers, sisters and cousins ease into it such as your staff arriving for work: “Mörena and welcome to Mahi!” – “Morning and welcome to work!” Mr Cook said.
“For our Whānau Māori out there, who are a little worried or concerned that they might not make a good job of it ‘kia kaha’ be strong, never be afraid to also give it a go. We have so many Marae and Hapū around the country doing amazing things when it comes to our Reo such as courses and language nights that its easy to get involved. Like all things with our people and our culture it would be great to see all Māori learning not only Te Reo but also Tikanga (protocols), Pepeha (where they are from) and Whakapapa, so when it comes to the next generation more of us can pass that knowledge on.” He said
“And you don’t have to talk you can also sing! Take the opportunity to re-discover some classics from Tui Teka and Howard Morrison or some traditional waiata! Let all of our voices be heard this Māori language week!” Said Mr Cook.
The New Zealand Māori Council is holding or support events around Aotearoa.
“Kia mai, kia ū ki tö tātou Reo Māori hai tāonga tukuiho mo ngæ whakatipuranga hou”
“Remain steadfast to the use of the Māori language so that it may be passed to the next generation”