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.