How to celebrate Māori Language Week

Published on Wednesday, 16 September 2020
Last updated on Wednesday, 21 October 2020

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Te Wiki o te Reo Māori (or Māori Language Week) kicks off on Monday, 14 September and it’s a chance to celebrate one of our official languages and take part in a country-wide movement to revitalise te reo Māori.

Te Wiki o te Reo Māori is run by the Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori (Māori Language Commission) to get more Kiwis speaking, hearing and experiencing the language, so let’s see how we can all learn and practise New Zealand’s mother tongue.

What’s happening during Te Wiki o te Reo Māori?

Te Wiki o te Reo Māori aims to create a positive environment for the use of te reo Māori, and there are lots of ways to celebrate, promote and encourage the use of Māori language between 14 and 20 September: 

  • There are Māori language initiatives to learn about;
  • Special events to take part in;
  • Resources that help make Māori language more accessible; and
  • An inclusive feel as non-Māori speakers use the language, Māori speakers support those who are learning it, and everyone thinks about ways to revitalise te reo Māori at home, at work and in the community.

To find news and events, register your own event, or download phrase booklets, song lyrics, posters and other resources, head to https://ReoMā

What ideas can you use to celebrate Te Wiki o te Reo Māori and learn the language with your tamariki?

There has been a big rise in the number of preschoolers using te reo Māori and this shows that efforts to revitalise the language are working.

Exposure to te reo Māori at home, at child care, at school and everywhere is having a positive effect, and there are lots of ways to celebrate Te Wiki o te Reo Māori and commit to learning more Māori with your tamariki.

For starters, you can:

  • Work on a Māori activity book together
  • Read about ways to use Māori language in the home, e.g. by sticking up everyday labels showing the Māori names for different foods and furniture
  • Set a goal to learn one Māori word each day for a year  
  • Ask your child to share some te reo Māori activities they’ve done at child care or school;
  • Read a Māori book together, like Tio Tiamu and
  • Learn to sing a Māori song or practice the national anthem in Māori.

How can you help to revitalise Māori language throughout the year?

Although Te Wiki o te Reo Māori runs for one week in September, Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori says that, ‘Every minute of every hour of every day is a Māori language minute.’

On an ongoing basis, you can contribute to the revitalisation of te reo Māori by:

  • Making Māori language welcome in your workplace, community and home
  • Encouraging other people to learn te reo Māori
  • Pronouncing Māori words properly
  • Learning a little and using a little, e.g. a simple ‘Kia ora!’ contributes to revitalisation and you can start with 100 Māori words every New Zealander should know
  • Learning more and using what you know
  • Continually improving your language and sharing what you’ve learnt and
  • Setting up your own individual language plan or doing it in a group. 

It’s really great to see so many young children immersing themselves in te reo Māori and we can all take steps to learn and practise the Māori language.

Kia Kaha te reo Māori! (Let’s make the Māori language strong!)

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