Last weekend – 27 August – marked the beginning of the lunar month Mahuru and in turn the beginning of Mahuru Māori, the annual reo Māori challenge that has been steadily building momentum as the language revitalisation movement continues to grow. Created in 2014 by language champion Paraone Gloyne, Mahuru Māori builds upon the wero of Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori by challenging individuals, whānau, schools and workplaces throughout Aotearoa to consciously use te reo Māori throughout the month of Mahuru.
This year is particularly significant for both Mahuru Māori and Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori. Fifty years ago, in 1972, Māori activist group Ngā Tamatoa presented a petition to Parliament demanding that te reo Māori be incorporated into the school curriculum. With 30,000 signatures, this petition demonstrated the immense value placed upon our language, and the deep sense of loss at the way it was stripped away from successive generations of whānau Māori. It was undoubtedly a turning point in the language revitalisation movement, leading to the recognition of te reo Māori as an official language of this country in 1987.
Here at Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu, te reo Māori is a huge priority – both in terms of our workplace practice, and in our aspirations for the whānau and hapori we serve. Research has demonstrated time and again that whānau Māori do better when they are connected to their culture and identity, and te reo Māori is an inextricable part of that. Through our Wave funding, we have been proud to support a number of initiatives dedicated to uplifting the language and making learning opportunities more accessible to our whānau.
One of these includes Te Kai a Te Rangatira, an initiative led by Pippa Hakopa that is bringing te reo Māori back to the whānau of Rakiura. We are proud to share their story in the video below.