Let's Keep the Māori Language Strong
September 13, 2021
Te Wiki o te Reo Māori or Māori Language Week is the annual campaign to get more Kiwi people speaking, hearing and experiencing te reo Māori. This year it runs from the 13th to 19th of Mahuru, September, and comes with it a flurry of opportunities to learn, share and experience the language of Aotearoa.
Te reo Māori is part of the unique culture, history and mana of Aotearoa, and these seven days of celebration unite us as we honour the language of our whenua. Here are a few ways you can get involved this week, and hopefully continue with throughout the year.
Tahi – Start with an introduction
Pepeha is the way of introducing oneself, who we are and where we come from. It talks to connections with people and places of importance to you. This initiative, led by Māori and finessed by the dream team at Designworks, captures your pepeha for you to share – a modern twist on an important, cultural tradition. The Pepeha website also has plenty of tips on pronunciation with phonetic and audio cues, to add a layer of confidence to your introduction.
Rua – Strengthen your vocabulary
Māori are great storytellers, with centuries of rich, oral histories being passed from generation to generation. Challenge yourself to weave te reo Māori into the stories of your own.
Learning new words needn’t be dull. We give full permission to wind your way down a social media wormhole, start here, here, or here, brushing up your pronunciation and vocabulary with a few giggles along the way.
Place names are a great one to start with, along with words we use each day.
Here are some of ours:
Toru – Drift away to waiata
Waiata have many uses, from telling myths to celebrating and mourning; they’re essentially stories of people and the land. There’s a growing movement of celebrated musicians recording their songs in te reo Māori, to support the emergence of a bilingual musical landscape. Check out this playlist of waiata reo Māori, featuring a number of Kiwi hits that have been translated to te reo. You might even expand your vocabulary after a few choruses.
If you have little ones you could try some simple songs like these, that teach the days of the week or colours of the rainbow as they settle for bed. Or have a go at crafting your own waiata oriori, these traditional waiata were sung as lullabies and teach children about their ancestors, journey, geography and whakapapa, their genealogy.
From those beginning their te reo Māori journey to those tenacious advocates, celebrate the seven days of Māori Language Week with education, immersion and involvement. Kia kaha te reo Māori, let’s keep the Māori language strong.