100 sleeps until Māori Language Week

By Jessica Tyson

Workplaces, organisations, schools and community groups are being reminded to start planning their activities to celebrate Māori Language Week 2019.

From September 9 to 15, Aotearoa will celebrate the Māori language and its revitalisation.

Māori Language Commission Chief Executive Ngahiwi Apanui says it’s a chance for everyone to do something to support the indigenous language and “enjoy what it can add to our lives”.

“In your workplace, organisation, school or community group, celebrate te reo Māori. As we say, ‘Ahakoa iti, akona, kōrerotia. Learn a little. Use a little!,’” says Apanui.

The theme for 2019 is 'Kia Kaha te Reo Māori'.

Apanui says 'Kia Kaha' is well known by both Māori and English speakers and came into popular, New Zealand-wide, use in the 19th century as part of the sports chant 'Kia Kaha, Ake, Ake, Ake!'

Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori 2018

In previous years, Māori Language Week has influenced business and organisations to promote its status through things such as bilingual signage.

Hikoi in Pōneke

Last year, thousands of people marched in Wellington to celebrate the city’s Māori Language week.

Marchers were welcomed onto Wellington's Civic Square, recently named Te Ngākau in one of the first steps by council to implement their initiative to become a reo Māori capital by 2040. 

Wellington City Mayor Justin Lester says, "Te Tauihu, our policy was introduced and we've seen a whole lot of changes already in the city and are looking forward to rolling those out over the course of the next coming years."

New learners

Last year, was a first for some Asian immigrants who started to learn the language.

Māori language student Julie Zhu said it opened her mind to the treasures of the Māori world and the uniqueness of Māori history.

“It is very special for us as foreigners of this country to learn of the history of this country because for me...this is where I call home now."

Safekids

Safekids Aotearoa produced a series of child injury prevention messages to coincide with last year's Māori Language Week.

Director Melissa Wilson said it was, “important in our work that we take the time to listen to our tamariki and understand what injury prevention looks like through their eyes.

“Equally important is exploring the language and concepts of injury prevention with a kaupapa Māori lens,” she says.