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Māori Language Celebrations Throughout City

Press release: 17 July 2008

Māori Language Celebrations Throughout Christchurch

Māori Language Week will be celebrated at several Christchurch City Council community facilities next week (21 – 27 July).

Christchurch Art Gallery Director Jenny Harper says as well as a lecture by Te Reo Māori advocate Dr Te Huirangi Waikerepuru, well known for his work among Māori encouraging the learning and use of their language, the gallery will introduce a variety of temporary and longer-term initiatives.

“In recognition of Māori Language Week, we have produced a bilingual brochure highlighting four relevant works within the gallery.

“Our Te Reo Māori audio guide will also be free to the public throughout the week,” Ms Harper says.

Initiatives to be introduced from Māori Language Week onwards include gallery tour and closing announcements in Māori as well as in English, and greetings in Māori by gallery tour guides, who have been learning Te Reo.

A variety of Māori Language Week activities are also planned at the city’s libraries.

“Te Reo Māori is a taonga that gives our country its distinct and cultural identity,” Christchurch City Council Learning Events Coordinator Ainslee McGill says.

“This is why it deserves our protection and nourishment – for Māori to thrive as an everyday language, we must encourage it to be used in our homes and communities as much as possible.”

Master carver George Edwards Kaumatua of Te Runaka o Otautahi will demonstrate his craft in the Ngā Pounamu Māori Centre on the second floor of the Central Library, on Monday 21 July from 10am until 4pm.

Basic Māori language workshops will be presented by local group Ngā Peka Mātauranga o Waitaha in the Ngā Pounamu Māori Centre on Tuesday 22 July, and at the Linwood Library on Friday 25 July. Both sessions will run from 10am until 12pm.

A new carving ”Kaitiakitanga” by local artist Gavin Britt will be unveiled at the Bishopdale Library on Friday 25 July between 1.30pm and 2.30pm.

Kapa Haka groups will also perform at community libraries throughout Māori Language Week. For more information visit www.christchurchcitylibraries.com or phone 941 7923.

ENDS

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