Over the past few years, Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori has been steadily building momentum, and this year it has culminated in another week full of celebrations, commemorations and widespread uptake. Across the motu we have seen an unbelievable number of people, groups and businesses commiting themselves to this kaupapa and embracing the shared goal to revitalise our taonga, te reo Māori. Kupu Māori jump out at us from billboards and shop frontages as we drive down the street, and from food and drink packaging as we stroll through the supermarkets. Social media is awash with waiata, whakataukī and kīwaha, with everyone encouraged to challenge themselves and give it a go.
The nationwide groundswell is fitting, as this year marks the fiftieth anniversary of the Māori language petition presented to Parliament by Te Reo Society, Ngā Tamatoa and Te Huinga Rangatahi. Te Petihana related to the teaching usage of te reo Māori and culture in schools, and today is credited with the modern revitalisation of the language.
This week I was actually in Te Whanganui a Tara for a wānanga on Māori in Emergency Management, and we were fortunate enough to be based at Parliament on Wednesday for Te Wā Tuku Reo Māori. It was an incredible atmosphere as our nation’s leaders celebrated our language, and the progress we have made to restore its mana.
While in Te Whanganui a Tara I also took the opportunity to attend the exhibition of Tame Iti, I will not speak Māori, and came away with a souvenir: a stainless steel wāhine tumatuma figurine that now sits in my office to remind me of the legacy of those brave whānau who fought for our reo.
Back at Te Whenua Taurikura, our kaimahi have been celebrating Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori with daily games and challenges. We are lucky enough to have staff at all stages of their learning journeys and it is always wonderful to see the tuakana/teina dynamic that comes forth during these events. In particular, our kaimahi have enjoyed our daily “reo Māori anake” waiata sessions so much that we intend to continue these indefinitely, providing a safe space for us to kōrero and add to the kete of waiata that we can all join in on.
After all, Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori was never meant to be about just one week. The intention behind this annual event is to capture our collective enthusiasm and harness it throughout the rest of the year, encouraging us all to find small ways to continue to learn and celebrate the language. Here at Te Whenua Taurikura, we are committed to that journey and we look forward to carrying the spirit of Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori onwards into everything that we do.
A small rōpū from Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu travelled to Te Whanganui a Tara for a wānanga on emergency management, hosted by manawhenua Ngāti Toa and Te Ātiawa as well as the National Environmental Management Agency (NEMA). This was a fantastic oppotunity to connect and collaborate with whānau from throughout the country, and to hear from the lived experiences of those whānau, hapū and iwi from the frontline of states of emergency.
The kaupapa of the wānanga was to implement a partnership between iwi Māori and NEMA, that will permeate all levels of influence within the approach to emergency management. Minister Kiritapu Allan began this process and it will be continued by current Minister for Emergency Management, Hon Kieran McAnulty, with the presentation of a new Bill that will acknowledge and uplift an agency-wide Tiriti partnership. For too long, the role of whānau, hapū and iwi has not been acknowledged or appropriately resourced, despite the selfless mahi that our hapori undertake when it comes to responding to the immediate and long-term impacts of emergencies within our rohe.
The wānanga began with a pōwhiri at Hongoeka Marae, where we were welcomed by our very own Te Taumata Co-Chair Dr Taku Parai. Our mihi goes out to manawhenua for their wonderful manaakitanga during this event.
It was especially rewarding to see members of our Whānau Ora Network sharing their whakaaro, namely Dr Lorraine Eade and Kahutane Whaanga who presented on the experiences of the Wakefield fires and Nelson floods, and Rehia McDonald who spoke about the Kawatiri Buller floods.
The presentation from Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa about the eruption on Whakaari was particularly poignant, and it was an honour to hear about their beautiful response to this tragedy. Of course, we hope never to be faced with a similar situation but it is still important to prepare ourselves. We are grateful to everyone who shared their experiences with such generosity and vulnerability – we are all stronger for it.
We are delighted to celebrate the launch of the Little Romax website, which went live earlier this week. Based in Whakatū, Little Romax is one of our successful Wave 16 initiatives that is creating trending streetwear clothing for young children of Aotearoa.
The name Little Romax originates from the whānau name Roma, which is fitting because one of the aspirations behind the brand is to create a thriving intergenerational business that will provide income and employment to future generations. Little Romax is also proud to support New Zealand businesses and manufacturers while delivering unique and original designs.