Writing competition encourages rangatahi to use te reo

National creative writing competition, He Huatau Auaha, is open for entries, calling on young minds to express their thoughts and ideas in te reo Māori.

The competition began in a bid to ensure the language remains alive and well amongst rangatahi.

The bi-annual competition was launched in 2013 and is open to school students aged 6 to 18-years-old. The competition is run by the National Māori Language Institute at Auckland University of Technology, Te Ipukarea.

Competition co-coordinator and te reo Māori lecturer at AUT, Hēmi Kelly, says New Zealand must continue to provide a space that encourages young Māori to write in te reo Māori.

He Huatau Auaha is the only national creative writing competition that exists that is aimed solely at school children and run entirely in te reo Māori,” explains Kelly.

“We need to maintain a forum where our tamariki and rangatahi are encouraged to express their thoughts and ideas through writing in our indigenous language.”

In 2014, the competition saw more than 70 students from mainstream schools, bi-lingual units, kura kaupapa and wharekura throughout New Zealand submit original pieces of work in te reo Māori.

Entries were judged by distinguished te reo Māori experts Dr Wharehuia Milroy, Dr Tīmoti Kāretu and Hana O'Regan.

The work of Te Ipukarea in promoting te reo Māori has not gone unnoticed, with Huia Publishers jumping on board as project sponsor.

Executive Director of Huia Publishers, Brian Morris says, “This a great initiative that encourages young students to develop their creative writing skills and also convey their thoughts, perspectives and aspirations fully in te reo Māori.”

“It’s fantastic to see this project grow bigger and better each year it is run,” adds Kelly. “And we’re looking forward to a getting a record number of entries this year.”

Prizes up for grabs include iPads, educational books, book vouchers, writing resources, and iTunes music vouchers.

Deadline for entries is 5pm, on Friday 8 July 2016. For more information on eligibility criteria and how to enter, please visit: www.aut.ac.nz/tereocomp.