I encourage all New Zealanders to take part in Māori Language Week which begins today.
Te Wiki o te reo Māori runs from 10 to 16 September 2018. The theme is ‘kia kaha te reo Māori’ or ‘let the Māori language live’. The Māori language is one of the best ways to say ‘We are New Zealanders’. Everyone can help to celebrate and revitalise our country’s first language. People can show their support for the language in lots of ways. Mums, dads and grandparents can show active interest and support for their kids as they learn Māori at school. If the school is not providing any Māori language, families can ask them to start.
The business world and community groups can display bilingual signs to show te reo Māori is welcome in public and private spaces, and everyone can try a simple ‘kia ora’ (hello) or ‘mā te wā’ (bye) as they go about their daily business. Each time you use Māori correctly it is a valuable gesture to restore it as an everyday language. It all adds up.
People are also invited to join in parades that are taking place in at least six centres – Gisborne, Manukau, Auckland CBD, North Shore, Wellington and Rotorua.
The story of the Māori language is not just one of decline. It is also one of resilience and passion. It is the kind cultural icon we love to celebrate; a plucky Kiwi, punching above its weight, in spite of the odds and heading for the top.
I congratulate everyone who is rolling out activities for Te Wiki o te Reo Māori. She urges others that it’s not too late to support this key part of our New Zealand identity. Start today. Support, sing and speak. Whatever you choose, it all contributes to the future of the language and the shape of our nation. Kia kaha te reo Māori.