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New te reo Māori policy supports language use

This year’s Te Wiki o te Reo Māori marks a special milestone for Hastings District Council with the launch of its new te reo Māori policy this week.

Named Heretaunga Ararau it recognises the importance and significance of the Māori language, and provides a framework to support and revitalise the language through the council’s actions, both within the organisation as well as its dealings with the wider community.

Within the Ngāti Kahungunu rohe 26 per cent of the population is Māori, and the policy reflects the council’s desire to become accustomed to te reo Māori, local Māori aspirations, and to form strong relationships and be consistent in its cultural responsiveness to the community.

Ngāti Kahungunu Iwi chair Ngāhiwi Tomoana and director of Te Reo Māori Jeremy MacLeod have reflected on this significant milestone for the council and said “it’s a great start and will go a long way to help the implementation of the Ngāti Kahungunu language strategy, Kahungunu, kia eke”!

The policy has been guided by the Māori Language Commission’s planning goals and the vision is to not only embed te reo Māori responsiveness across all the council’s areas of business but also to make Hastings a te reo Māori-centred city by 2040.

These goals for the district include such actions as celebrating its unique Māori heritage, supporting local rangatahi to learn and perform haka and waiata at special occasions, celebrating te reo Māori champions, and using te reo Māori across council facilities, receptions, housing, events, arts and public spaces.

Within the council organisation itself the aim is to normalise the use of te reo Māori across council activities, publications, and its dealings with the public. Council officers will also be encouraged to participate in te reo Māori learning programmes.

Council chief executive Nigel Bickle said that as Māori is one of two official languages in New Zealand the council had a role to play in recognising, participating, promoting and enjoying the Māori language.

“I am proud to see the way our council is embracing the Māori language – through words, prayer, songs and art.

“My hope is that by giving life to Heretaunga Ararau our journey will see a destination where we celebrate Māori language every day.”

© Scoop Media

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