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New Zealander of the Year 2020 Congratulated

Māori Language Commissioner congratulates New Zealander of the Year 2020, Jennifer Ward-Lealand Te Atamira.



The Māori Language Commission says the naming of Māori language champion, Jennifer Ward-Lealand Te Atamira, as New Zealander of the Year is a fitting start to International Mother Language Day.

“Jennifer is an outstanding New Zealander whose commitment to our country’s mother language saw her learn but also encourage other New Zealanders to become Māori speakers,” said Māori Language Commissioner, Professor Rawinia Higgins.

“This week we told the Māori Affairs Select Committee that we are focused on seeing 1 million speakers of te reo Māori by 2040 and that non-Māori will play a big role in our journey: Jennifer is one of those language champions already playing a big role.”

Ms Ward-Lealand has worked alongside the commission to promote Māori Language Week for many years.

“One of our goals is to encourage all New Zealanders to see te reo as part of our national identity, this is something we describe as Aotearoatanga: Jennifer embodies this perfectly.”

“He aha te kai a te rangatira: he korero, he korero, he korero”
“What is the food of the leader? It is knowledge. It is communication.”

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