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Maori Language Week

September 15, 2020


Te Wiki o te Reo Māori – Māori Language Week


2020’s Māori Language Week theme is ‘kia kaha te reo Māori’. Since 1975, this week has commemorated the 1972 Māori language petition being delivered to parliament. 

The petition asked for active recognition of te reo Māori and carried over 30,000 signatures. This became the starting point for a significant revitalisation of te reo throughout Aotearoa.


Kia kaha be strong is a common phrase in Aotearoa. It’s a call to find strength and support one another. As a theme, ‘kia kaha te reo Māori’ reminds us to actively support the Māori language and contribute to its strength. Languages are commonly spoken about using measures like health, strength, weakness. Let’s revitalise te reo by using it day to day, so that future generations can enjoy a strong presence of te reo in their daily life.


Come together for te reo


This year, in the interest of social distancing, the Māori Language Commission redesigned Māori Language Week so New Zealanders can celebrate te reo wherever they are. This unprecedented format culminated in Māori Language Moment which aligns with the date and time – a defining moment – when the petition was delivered to parliament in 1972.


Te reo Māori needs New Zealanders to keep it safe so that it can be spoken and treasured by Kiwis long into the future. The commissions overarching goal is to have 1 million Māori language speakers by 2040. To help promote their goal, a Māori Language Moment was shared between hundreds of thousands of Kiwis at 12pm on Monday 14 September.


How Kiwis celebrated Māori Language Moment was unique to each participant. They might have chosen to say a word or phrase at home. They might have sung a Māori song, or called out a te reo greeting to a neighbour or friend.


While Māori Language Moment was a great way to bring New Zealanders together in celebrating te reo for a moment, it was just the beginning. Let’s all help keep the momentum by taking time out of our day to learn something new about te reo Māori and Māori culture.


Not sure how to celebrate te reo? Try these ideas:


Kōrero speak

Start all your conversations with kia ora.


Waiata sing

Sing the Māori National Anthem.


Tākaro play

Create and host an online Kahoot quiz with your whānau and friends.


Whakarongo listen

Tune in to Māori Television.


Pānui read

Read the reo rua articles on Stuff NZ and share them with your whānau and friends.


Ako learn

Learn a word a day for a year. Try 365 Māori words.



Goals for Māori Language Week

  • Create a positive environment for the use of Māori language.
  • Promote Māori language initiatives and events.
  • Encourage non-Māori speaking New Zealanders to use reo Māori.
  • Encourage speakers of Māori to support others who are just starting.
  • Encourage community, business, government, and media organisations to participate.
  • Promote resources to make Māori language more accessible.
  • Contribute to awareness of the Crown Māori Language Strategy and the Māori and iwi strategy that work together for revitalisation.  

What can I do?


Mā tātou katoa te reo Māori e whakarauora:

  • Whakatauhia te reo Māori ki te wāhi mahi me te hapori
  • Whakahau i ētahi atu ki te kōrero, ki te ako hoki i te reo Māori; whakauruamai hoki te reo Māori ki tōu ao
  • Kia tika tonu te whakahua i te kupu Māori i ngā wā e kōrero Pākehā ana
  • Ahakoa iti, akona, kōrerohia
  • Kia nui ake te ako ka kōrero ai
  • Whāia te ara poutama o te reo ka tohatoha ai.

Everyone can contribute to te reo Māori revitalisation:

  •  Make te reo welcome at work and in the community
  • Encourage others to use and learn te reo Māori; welcome Māori language into your life
  • Pronounce Māori words correctly when speaking English
  • Learn a little, use a little
  • Learn more, and use what you know
  • Keep improving your language, and share what you know






Te Reo Maori Facebook tile

Speaking te reo with Canterbury Rugby


Ryman has collaborated with our friends at Canterbury Rugby to introduce you to basic te reo. Watch along as Whetukamokamo Douglas, Billy Harmon, and Ere Enari take us through our paces, then give it a go yourself.


We’re challenging you to learn a new word or phrase each day. If that’s too easy, level up by competing against your friends and whānau to see who can use te reo the most each day!


The videos break down words and phrases to help you learn what they mean, when to use them, and how to pronounce them.


Video 1: Learn simple greetings so you can use te reo to say hello, day to day.

Video 2: Master ‘see you later’ and ‘goodbye’ so you can farewell friends in te reo.

Video 3: Understand manaakitanga and how each of the players interprets this term.

Video 4: You’ll be shouting te reo from the sideline with these words of encouragement.

Video 5: It’s time to pass the ball to those around you and expand the te reo community.

Watch the videos here:


Māori Language Week events near you


There are countless reasons to get involved in Māori Language Week this year and these coinciding events would be near the top of the list.


Take time out of your day to explore this list of events and find something that you’ll enjoy. From beginner to intermediate level and beyond, there are events to teach you how to speak and read te reo and others to help you celebrate te reo Māori.


Scroll the list and find an event near you. If you can’t find one close by, make contact with the host of an event you like the sound of in case they have an online alternative you could join.



Māori Language Week activities and ideas


So, you’re excited to be involved and learn a little te reo, but you’re not sure what else you can do to celebrate Māori Language Week. We have you covered!


This week is a great opportunity to celebrate in ways that you enjoy. That might be loud waiata or quiet study where you learn the history of the language. It might be taking part in events nearby or joining a te reo class online. It might mean simply spreading the word by telling someone that Māori Language Week exists.


The goal is to have fun and try something new. There’s no need to push yourself or step out of your comfort zone. If you’d like to learn a single word, go for it! If you’d like to become a fluent te reo speaker, go for that too!


Anyone can get involved and help revitalise te reo Māori. All backgrounds and levels of ability are welcome – and needed for revitalisation. Learning and using te reo are important parts of Māori Language Week but spreading the word and promoting the status of te reo Māori is equally important. With knowledge and awareness of the revitalisation of te reo, others will be able to join you in appreciating the place of te reo Māori in Aotearoa.


Here are 58 activities and ideas to help you revitalise te reo:


And here are some excerpts to get you started: