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Ngāruahine Bringing Te Reo to a café near you

Ngāruahine Bringing Te Reo to a café near you

For Immediate Release

5 July 2016

Te Wiki Te Reo Māori (Māori Language Week) 2016 sees the launch of an initiative by Te Korowai o Ngāruahine Trust that encourages its community to learn and correctly pronounce Te Reo Māori in everyday situations including how the language can be used in positive ways to express themselves – all by changing what you might read while you have your cup of coffee or buy morning tea.

“Te Korowai recognises Te Wiki o Reo Māori provides a focal point of celebration and education for Te Reo Māori within Aotearoa”. The celebration of our indigenous language is really important for our whole community and also helps remind our rangatahi (young people) that our language is something that connects them with their whanau, hapū and iwi.

With Te Reo Māori being something that the whole community treasures, Te Korowai set out to find contemporary ways of encouraging people to learn and use the language. So when Te Korowai team member Te Ahu Rei, had the idea of placing small flipcharts in cafes and other key retail outlets within Hāwera and Manaia with modern phrases spelt phonetically in Te Reo Māori, it seemed like the perfect way of engaging with the local community.

The initiative was launched on Monday to coincide with the beginning of Māori Language week. When selecting phrases, thought was given to positive statements that young rangatahi could relate to, but also as responses to negative comments, whether they were being hassled on the sports field or taunted on Facebook. If the charts prove popular, Te Korowai will produce new ones every few months.

Pou Whakarae (Chair) of Te Korowai o Ngāruahine Trust Will Edwards says the initiative builds on the approach of normalising spoken Te Reo Māori within the community.

"Most kiwis now are proud to greet each other with a ‘kia ora’ or say farewell with a ‘ka kite’, and as more and more of our children are learning Te Reo Māori, the next step is normalising its use within our community".

Will Edwards also leads kupa korero sessions at Hawera cafes Linx and Caffeinate on Tuesdays where Māori speakers gather over a cup of coffee and speak Te Reo Māori.

"We have some non-Māori speakers who enjoy just listening and being part of the environment and that is great - we have a beautiful indigenous language and it’s about time we found more ways for our whole community to celebrate that and at the same time enable more people to become conversant and fluent in Te Reo Māori".

Te Korowai in conjunction with Te Reo o Taranaki hold free Te Reo Māori classes in its office each week. The classes are attended by a large number of Ngāruahine whanau, as well as members from across the community, and provide a cultural context for the language. Te Korowai is rolling out a series of small initiatives to help build a year-round awareness of Ngāruahinetanga (what it means to be Ngāruahine) through language, education and sharing the history of the Ngāruahine rohe and people.

As for the Te Reo Māori, Mr Edwards notes: "Having only one week to celebrate and focus on our indigenous language isn't enough - we need to build a generation of speakers, both pākehā and Māori who can burst into Te Reo as frequently as we see rugby teams burst out the haka.”

- ENDS -

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