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Horomia: Mâori Language Week Awards

14 September 2005 (7.00pm)

Horomia: Mâori Language Week Awards
The Boatshed, Wellington

Mihi
Dame Te Arikinui Te Atairangikaahu, Te Rangatira Tumu te Heuheu, Lady Raiha Mahuta, Taura Whiri board members Dr Patu Hoehpa, Iritana Tawhiwhirangi, ladies and gentleman.

Happy Mâori Language Day everyone! Thirty-three years ago, on 14 September 1972, a Maori language petition (containing 30,000 signatures) was presented to Parliament; the request at the time was for Mâori language to be taught in schools. This day was a significant event in the history of the Mâori language renaissance.

Tonight, thirty-three years later Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Mâori, Te Puni Kôkiri and the Human Rights Commission, have gathered us here to celebrate this year’s Mâori Language Week Awards and nominees.

A great time to share in the acknowledgement of you who are in your professions and amongst our whânau, hapû, iwi, in the community constantly promoting and elevating the presence of te reo Mâori in our nation. Ka mau te wehi.
Congratulations to all of you who gave it a go for Mâori language Week this year, "kia kaha ake". It is my pleasure to welcome you tonight. I look forward to finding out about the inspirational activities that have brought us all here this evening.

Award nominees, you are all outstanding exemplars of the difference that one person can make to the ongoing revitalisation of te reo Mâori. You are impacting the status of te reo Mâori in the arenas of community, business, and media, central and local government. And by virtue of being here tonight, as a nominee, you are already winners. I am inspired by the contributions you have made to the status of ‘to tâtou reo rangatira’ in your specialist fields and in the course of your life.

This evening is a showcase of te reo Mâori champions. I think that the calibre of nominees is patent evidence that our reo Mâori has been in excellent hands.
Mâori language week is not about having te reo Mâori prominent during the week only.

It does serve as a springboard to further raise the levels of support, motivation and encouragement to the growth of te reo Mâori over time.
You have all contributed to the significant progress in securing the health and status of te reo Mâori. Nowadays it is no longer a question of the life or death of our reo, but rather what the future of te reo Mâori will look like. I stand here tonight knowing that te reo Maori is not just alive and well but is being truly celebrated.

We have accomplished much, but we have far to go. There is still more work to be done, language development is an intergenerational process and that is the next challenge. What that will take is continued leadership and commitment over the long term.

It is apt that I am speaking to you tonight because the future of our reo Mâori is in your hands. The future of te reo Mâori is in the hands of our te reo Mâori speakers. It is with you, with your whânau, your hapû that the development of our Mâori language lives; that the transmission and development of te reo in our whânau will happen, where normalising Mâori, as the language of communication will be fulfilled.

It is with you that communities like Ruatoki and Moerewa will no longer be unusual. The leading language revitalisation will happen in our communities, and maintaining our unique tribal dialects, and support our tane on the paepae.
That is for each of us to lead and be responsible for. As I said one person makes a huge difference.
It is the role of government to support and create the environment for people to develop te reo Mâori skills and to encourage and provide for an environment where te reo Mâori is not only provided for but also encouraged and celebrated as a unique taonga of Aotearoa.
The government’s vision as articulated in the Mâori Language Strategy is that by 2028, the Mâori language will be widely spoken by Mâori; that Mâori will be in common use within Mâori whânau, homes and communities; and that all New Zealanders will appreciate the value of the Mâori language to New Zealand society.

It is upon us, the government to:
-strengthen language skills such that the majority of Mâori will be able to speak Mâori with increases in proficiency
- support the increased the use of Mâori language e.g. at marae, within Mâori households,
- ensure that all Mâori and New Zealanders have enhanced access to high quality Mâori language education
- empower community leadership so that iwi, hapû and local communities will be the leading parties in ensuring local level language revitalisation
- support Iwi dialects.
You have taken our te reo Mâori to forums, arenas and heights that a few generations ago our people only dreamt of. That place is now the platform on which we stand, I look forward to the future of te reo Mâori and your place in the at future.

This brings me to the other reason that I’m here, and that is to officially launch the new interactive Kôrero Mâori website. This site goes a long way to realising the vision of Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Mâori, the Mâori Language Commission, for reo Mâori to be a living national taonga.

Mâori communities and businesses are now big users of Information Technology and the Mâori language needs to keep pace with communication technology.

This new interactive website is a place where we can achieve a bilingual cyber environment. The status of te reo is important in Aotearoa and with the availability of this new resource it is set to increase.

This website is a one stop shop for all, whether you are a learner or a linguist, this site will enable you to give and take from the knowledge and skills of others.

A website is like a waka a vessel that all can get on and paddle according to a common objective.

I am pleased to be on this waka and proud to support its kaupapa and I am honoured to launch the Kôrero Mâori website.
Before I hand you over to Lana Simmons-Donaldson of Te Taura Whiri I would like to wish you all the very best this evening as we honour achievements. You have much to be proud of and I have total confidence that we are still yet to see better and bigger things in the years ahead.
Kia kaha!

ENDS

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