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200,000 Sign Up For Historic Māori Language Moment

New Zealanders will set a record this Māori Language Week as more than 200,000 people are already signed up to celebrate te reo as part of the country’s first, virtual Māori Language Moment on Monday 14 September at 12pm.

“We weren’t going to let COVID-19 stop us from bringing people together to celebrate te reo so instead of cancelling events, we went hard and decided to bring more people together than ever before,” said Professor Rawinia Higgins, Māori Language Commissioner.

“We are humbled and excited to see people from across Aotearoa – from our smallest towns to our largest cities, multinational companies, cafes, schools and kōhanga – choosing to join us for a moment to celebrate te reo. Friends and whānau overseas are also joining us.”

The Māori Language Moment | Te Wā Tuku Reo Māori is part of the Māori Language Commission’s plan to get 1 million people speaking, singing and celebrating te reo at the same time. The commission will host a Zui Mano – a Zoom meeting with 1000 attendees – for its own Māori Language Moment.

“To safeguard te reo we want 1 million Māori language speakers by 2040 but we want to start in 2020: even if only for a moment,” said Professor Higgins.

“Those 200,000 people who have already signed up on our website https://tuku.reomaori.co.nz/ are sharing why they are joining us and what they will be doing. People’s reasons for joining reveal they want to see a future where te reo is a normal part of their family, community and country.”

A Colmar Brunton poll commissioned in 2019 revealed 8 in 10 New Zealanders see te reo as part of their national identity.

“While te reo Māori remains an endangered language the support for it is strong: we are intent on helping to turn those supporters into speakers,” said Professor Higgins.

A Māori language hub – www.reomaori.co.nz – was also launched this week. At its heart is an online events calendar where people can upload and download events happening online, on land and overseas.

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