Rotorua has fully embraced the 43rd anniversary of Māori Language Week and has organised a variety of activities like a reo Māori expo and parade at the end of the week.
Te Wiki o te Reo Māori has been running since 1975 and this year’s theme is Kia Kaha te Reo Māori (Let’s make the Māori language strong).
Kingi Biddle, a member of Te Tatau o Te Arawa board which leads the Rotorua Reorua movement, commends locals for organising an exciting week.
“Our community has developed a wealth of activities and events to celebrate Te Wiki o te Reo Māori. It’s a testament to our district’s commitment to Rotorua Reorua and a demonstration of our commitment to protecting and nurturing a taonga (treasure), which is unique to Aotearoa (New Zealand), says Mr Biddle.
He says there is a variety of kaupapa (events) for all members of the family.
“There’s something for everyone from our tamariki nohinohi (toddlers) to our pākeke (adults). What ever your level of te reo (language) there will be something on offer for you. Why? Because you have the power to breathe life into te reo and support this year’s theme, Kia Kaha te Reo Māori,” he says.
Te Wiki o te Reo Māori events include:
• Māori activities at the
Rotorua Night Market and Rotorua Farmers
• A wānanga (workshop) to get tips on how to write a play from an award winning Māori playwright; and
• A Māori language expo showcasing local and national reo services and resources
Rotorua Lakes Council’s Kaitiaki Ahurea Māori, Monty Morrison, says Toi Tū Te Reo Māori Language expo will be held at Council on Friday from 10am.
“The expo is an opportunity for anyone learning or advancing their reo Māori, as well as anyone who is curious about the language. We’re looking forward to hosting this event and thankful that a number of reo Māori practitioners and kaitiaki (guardians) of this taonga tuku iho (intergenerational treasure) will be at the expo to showcase and share their expertise and resources,” he says.
Jenny Chapman of Ngāi Pākeha is looking forward to the expo and will be there to showcase the book series, Kōrero Mai - Speak to me.
She says the expo is an opportunity for like-minded people to connect and help people on their reo journey.
“Working together means the more feathers we have the better we fly,” she says.
Mrs Chapman was inspired by her children to write the books which introduce babies to their first Māori words.
“It’s important to me that my children grow up in a better Aotearoa than I did. That’s what it’s all about, leaving this place in a far better way than we found it. My children’s understanding of the world is so different to what mine was growing up - starting with language means you get an appreciation for culture,” she says.
The Kōrero Mai series of three books; Whānau (family), Kāinga (Home) and Kararehe (Animals), cover words in Māori, Sign Language and English.
For details about the Toi Tū Te Reo Māori Language Expo, which takes place on Friday (September 14), or for any other event during Te Wiki o te Reo Māori, check out the calendar here.
To learn more about this year’s Māori Language Week theme visit Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori (Māori Language Commission).