“Ka ngaro te reo, ka ngaro tāua, pera i te ngaro o te Moa” (If the language be lost, man will be lost, as dead as the moa).
The Māori language is a taonga that must be nurtured and preserved.
This is why Māori Language week - Te Wiki o te Reo Māori – is so important. Te Wiki o te Reo Māori is about revitalising te reo Māori. It’s an opportunity to celebrate, promote and encourage the use of te reo Māori.
We can all help to revitalise te reo Māori, no matter what our level of competency is. And it’s okay to start small - from little things, big things grow. Just choosing to say ‘Kia ora’ contributes to the revitalisation of the language. It also helps to normalise the everyday use of te reo Māori.
So let’s do our bit to contribute to the revitalisation and preservation of te reo Māori. Te Taura Whiri I te Reo Māori | Māori Language Commission website offers some good advice:
- Make te reo welcome at work and in the community
- Encourage others to use and learn te reo Māori and welcome the Māori language into your life
- Pronounce Māori words correctly when speaking English
- Learn a little, use a little
- Keep improving and share what you know
The Public Service’s commitment to Māori and Te Tiriti o Waitangi is about improving our relationship, capability, performance and outcomes with and for Māori. Speaking the language, if only a little, or pronouncing words correctly, all contribute to ensuring the Public Service delivers better quality services and outcomes for Māori communities. A greater understanding of te ao Māori gives us insight into how our mahi can strengthen relationships with Māori and improve outcomes for tangata whenua.
Te Taura Whiri I te Reo Māori is encouraging all New Zealanders to participate in a Māori Language Moment today – the goal is to get one million people speaking, singing and celebrating te reo at the same time – 12pm today. It’s a great idea and to take part, Te Kawa Mataaho Public Service Commission will be singing a waiata at 12pm. The time and date marks the day and the hour in 1972 when a group of Māori language champions presented a petition on the steps of Parliament calling for te reo to be taught in our schools.
Te reo is core to our identity as a nation. I encourage every agency and public servant to embrace te reo Māori, our Māori heritage and to celebrate Te Wiki o te Reo Māori. Celebrating Māori culture and using te reo Māori is part of the wairua manaaki - the spirit of service.