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Shortland Street Actors Promote Māori Language

30 June 2008

Media Release

Shortland Street Actors Promote Māori Language Week

Well known Shortland Street actors – Benjamin Mitchell (TK Samuels) - Tainui, Scott Cotter (Wiremu ‘Mu’ Potae) – Tainui, Ngāpuhi and Te Kohe Tuhaka (Kingi Te Wake)– Ngāti Porou, Ngāi Tuhoe, have all agreed to lend their support to the 2008 Māori Language Week campaign. .

Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori, the Māori Language Commission is working closely with Benjamin, Scott and Te Kohe to continue to lift the profile of the Māori language and its value to Aotearoa. “Shortland Street frequently makes a conscious effort to incorporate Māori language and raise Māori issues in their storylines. It is fantastic to be working with three passionate and committed Māori language speakers who are followed by so many New Zealanders”, says Huhana Rokx, Chief Executive of Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori.

Benjamin Mitchell, who also championed Māori Language Week in 2006, is excited to be back on board with the 2008 campaign: “I have done a bit of travel and it’s made me realise how dedicated to their traditional cultures different countries are. They can all speak two or three different languages – and you come to New Zealand, which prides itself on being a multicultural country – and most of us can only speak one language. I think this country should be a bilingual nation and Māori an official language of Aotearoa”.

“My aim is to become fluent in Māori and share with the young ones,” says Scott Cotter.” In terms of the Māori language as a whole, I think it’d be good if all kiwis knew a little bit of Māori language. That would be awesome!”.

Te Kohe, a recent addition to Shortland Street cast, and a native speaker says: “Te reo is very unique to me as a Māori, and also it comes with so much history and responsibility. So it’s my job to use it, and teach it”.

Benjamin, Scott and Te Kohe are working with Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori during Māori Language Week coming up (21 – 27 July 2008). This years theme is ‘Te Reo i te Kainga’ - Māori Language in the Home. Shortland Street can be seen every weeknight on TV2 at 7pm.


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