Week dedicated to Māori language not long enough

By Heta Gardiner

One week is too short, it should be a whole month to celebrate te reo Māori. Those were the sentiments expressed by the new chairman of the Māori Language Commission, Wayne Ngata at the launch of Māori Language Week at Waiwhetū Marae this afternoon.

This is the 40th year of Māori Language Week, which was increased to a week after previously being a day.

But for the new chairman of the Māori Language Commission, one week isn't sufficient.

“It should be a month,” says Wayne Ngata.  Those are the sentiments of Wayne Ngata, on the 40th anniversary of Te Wiki o te Reo Māori.

Before that, there was just one day to celebrate the Māori language.

Despite that, if you look at other art forms like music, New Zealand Music has a whole month of celebrations.

So what do Māori think?

Tātere MacLeod says, “It needs to be every day of the year.”

Ruakere Hond says, “You could say a week is too short or a month is too short or a year is too short, the main thing is that we exert all our energy into speaking Māori.”

Te Ururoa Flavell says, “If you care for the language, why would you restrict it to one week?”

The minister has been an advocate for the Māori language for some time. He has a warning, if we aren't careful.

“If we don't heed that advice, it's all a waste of time!” says Flavell.

Wayne Ngata says, “Māori need to look after their language otherwise it could be lost.”

Some of this delegation would fight to the bitter end to avoid that.