Hundreds of students from Kōhanga, Kura Kaupapa and Kura Whānui marched to Hayman Park in Manukau today as part of the Hīkoia te Kōrero initiative for Te Wiki o te Reo Māori.
Regarding the area of the march, Te Puni Kokīri Senior Advisor Eruera Morgan stated: "Out of all places, none comes close to Manukau in reference to how much of our people live in this particular region".
An ope (contingent) of Taiaha Exponents from Te Whare Tū Taua o Aotearoa was tasked with protecting the hīkoi today.
Chris Wiremu (Ngāi Tūhoe), the Pouwaru (Taiaha Master) leading the ope, was ecstatic that his contingent was chosen: "For me it was an honor to lead the march today, to lead the hundreds who came in support and to give respect to our indigenous language".
Te Reo was not the only kaupapa being promoted in this hīkoi with an Ihumātao banner being slipped on to one of the flagpoles.
Jeff Taua (Tainui) proclaimed, "That banner represents so much for our people, it was raised high out at Te Waiōhua Te Akitai. Today it was introduced to another important event".
Another marcher, known only as Morgan said: "At that particular event, Te Reo Māori comes up on top! Why? Because it was the language that was heard from those fighting the battle".
Though a short distance, the Hayman Park hīkoi was the perfect way to wrap up the 2019 Hīkoia Te Kōrero initiative.