Opinion: Aoraki Development operations manager Di Hay
Kia ora koutou – hello everyone!
It’s just a few weeks now since Maori Language Week was celebrated for 2019, and during the week it would have been hard to miss the increased use of te reo in our community. Well done to everyone who got involved, but why stop there?
At Aoraki Development we’d like to encourage businesses to take up the challenge and try to incorporate some te reo in their daily interactions at work. After all, why limit this to one week of the year?
Firstly, to give some background for Maori Language Week, it has now been celebrated every year since 1975, while Maori Language Day is September 14 and commemorates the presentation of the 1972 Maori language petition to Parliament.
Then in 2017 the initiative Mahuru Maori was started to promote the use of te reo Maori throughout the month of September.
All this is part of the national promotion of te reo Maori undertaken by Crown agencies and co-ordinated by the Maori Language Commission as part of the Crown’s Maori language strategy, the Maihi Karauna.
Te reo Maori is a taonga of Maori, guaranteed under the Treaty of Waitangi. But the Maori Language Act 2016 also makes clear it is for every New Zealander and a valued part of our national identity.
Every time we do something as simple as say “Kia ora!” it contributes to revitalisation.
Here are some ideas to kick things off:
Add a greeting to your email – Nga mihi, nga mihi nui
Welcome people to your meetings: Nau mai, haere mai
Incorporate some words into your general conversation – mahi (work), hello (kia ora), good morning (ata marie, or morena), goodbye (ma te wa), hui (meeting).
Order your tea or coffee for morning tea in te reo? Kaputi, kawhe?
Add in some colours – whero, kahurangi, kowhai, kakariki
Days of the week – Rarua, Rapare
Numbers – tahi, rua, toru, wha
Share your ideas and your knowledge with your colleagues and make it a fun learning experience.
There are some great resources on the Maori Language Week website, like a coffee-ordering chart you can put on your office wall https://www.tewikiotereomaori.co.nz/
Another resource we find really useful is the Maori Dictionary https://maoridictionary.co.nz/ which you can also download as an app on your phone. This site offers the chance to play voice files of the words so you can check your pronunciation. If you have the chance to take some more formal learning, then we’d encourage you to consider this for your team. Contact our local Ara campus to find out options.