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Maori Language Week

Human Rights Commission

20 July 2006

Take the ball and run with it this Maori Language Week

Sport is the theme of this year's Maori Language Week (24-30 July) and once again all New Zealanders have the opportunity to "Give it a Go" to learn and use Te Reo Maori.

The aim of Maori Language Week is to encourage a broad range of New Zealanders to have a greater sense of pride in Te Reo Maori and its contribution to New Zealand's unique identity.

Race Relations Commissioner, Joris de Bres says use of Maori language is becoming part of our everyday lives as evidenced by the high level of support for activities during previous Maori Language Weeks.

"A growing number of organisations and individuals do something extra or new during the week to use Te Reo in their business, workplace, community, school or home," he says.

Mr de Bres says Maori Language Week is also about the protection of New Zealand's indigenous language.

"The right to language is a fundamental human right. We can all help to realise that right by creating a climate in which Te Reo Maori is positively acknowledged and celebrated."

Each year Maori Language Week brings its own special events and milestones. In 2004 it was the national anthem cards supplied to rugby fans in both English and Maori and in 2005 it was the adoption of Maori greetings on television.

"Both of these have now become everyday practice", says Mr de Bres.

This year a special phrase book on sporting terms has been produced, building on the highly successful phrase books published for 2004 and 2005 and contributing to the already popular use of Maori language and culture in sport.

Mr de Bres said a number of organisations need to be acknowledged for their contribution to Maori Language Week 2006:

* SPARC for taking the message out to sporting communities.

* The Ministry of Education for promoting its Maori in the Mainstream curriculum due to be rolled out in schools next year.

* Fairfax Newspapers in Education for its Maori Focus Month leading up to the week.

* The Ministry for Culture and Heritage for bringing together information on the history of Te Reo Maori on its New Zealand History website.

* The Hawkes Bay Bahá'í community for printing a special prayer by their spiritual founder in both Maori and English.

Maori Language Week began in 1975 and since 2003 Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Màori/ Màori Language Commission, Te Puni Kòkiri/Ministry of Màori Development and Te Kàhui Tika Tangata/Human Rights Commission have been working together to coordinate activities.

For more information on Maori Language Week including the Awards and information on ordering resources visit the website: www.nzreo.org.nz

ENDS

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