Kia ora te reo Māori – Māori Language Week 2017

Issue: Volume 96, Number 15

Posted: 28 August 2017
Reference #: 1H9eCa

Celebrated since 1975, Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori – Māori Language Week acknowledges and celebrates the Māori language as a unique cultural treasure for all New Zealanders. This year the week will take place on 11-17 September.

Schools, kura and early learning services around the country are being encouraged to get involved in a range of activities and events to celebrate Te Wiki o Te Reo Maori 2017.

This special week will be celebrated on 11-17 September this year. Māori Language Commission Chief Executive Ngahiwi Apanui says the theme was chosen to celebrate New Zealand’s indigenous greeting, but also because the words ‘kia ora te reo Māori’ mean ‘let the Māori language live’.

“The new Māori Language Act 2016 sets up a new organisation, Te Mātāwai, to lead the revitalisation of the Māori language on behalf of iwi and Māori. Together we will ensure that the Māori language has ‘ora’ – life, health and vitality – which is what we convey every time we say ‘kia ora’.

“The New Zealand Oxford Dictionary says the greeting became common in non-Māori use in New Zealand from about the 1890s. This may have been triggered by a huge gas-illuminated sign set up in Auckland’s Shortland Street in 1887 to celebrate Queen Victoria’s jubilee. It stretched the whole length of the LD Nathan and Son warehouse frontage and said ‘Kia Ora Kuini Wikitōria’. It also appeared in English company and farm names,” he says.

“We have a lot to celebrate in the history and survival of te reo Māori. ‘Kia ora te reo Māori’ will in 2017 be the focus of that celebration”.

Wellington parade

To mark the beginning of Te Wiki, the Māori Language Commission invites schools, kura, playcentres, early childhood centres, kindergartens, kōhanga reo, puna reo and other community groups to take part in a special parade in Wellington on Monday 11 September.

The parade will start at 11am at the Cenotaph in Lambton Quay and proceed to Civic Square, where there will be activities and entertainment. Each participating group is encouraged to organise a float, be that a bike, car, van or truck adorned in signs and symbols.

For more information,(external link) visit Kaupapa Whakatairanga.

Classroom resources

Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori is an important and fun opportunity to celebrate and learn te reo Māori. In doing so, you are helping to secure its future as a living, dynamic and rich language.

Schools, early learning services and kura are encouraged to visit the Māori Language Commission online for teaching resources and support.

This year a ‘graphic novel’ is available for download. Two young superheroes lead the reader through Kia ora te reo: he kohinga pūrākau, a colourful and fun resource for teachers and students alike.

For Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori 2014, the Māori Language Commission published Te Kupu o te Wiki/Te Kupu o te Rā – word of the week/word of the day – which aims to teach 50 Māori words over 50 weeks. 

More learning ideas for beginner speakers include the following:

  • Improve your pronunciation of Māori words and place names ( link)).
  • Use kia ora, tēnā koe and mōrena as greetings.
  • Use a Māori language welcome sign at home, work, or school.
  • Find out about local Māori place names.
  • Make macrons available on your work and home computers.
  • Learn new words using online and printed dictionaries.
  • Learn a Māori word every week at Te Kupu o te Wiki.
  • Hold Māori language classes at work.
  • Learn karakia, waiata etc this week.
  • Check out more Māori language resources, such as Māori Television; for example, Dora Mātātoa.
  • Watch Māori Television or Te Karere (the Māori news on TVNZ). It’s a great way to learn new Māori words!
  • Use bilingual signs. These are a visible way of showing that te reo is valued at your workplace or school ( link)).
  • Listen to iwi radio in your region.

Online resources - Māori Language Commission(external link)

BY Education Gazette editors
Education Gazette | Tukutuku Kōrero,

Posted: 9:00 am, 28 August 2017

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