• Leah Norman

Kia Kaha Te Reo Māori ano - Māori Language Week 2020

This year Māori Language Day is celebrated on September 14 and commemorates the presentation of the 1972 Māori language petition to parliament. Many people may not know that The Treaty was first written in te reo Māori, first debated in te reo Māori and first explained in te reo Māori. The Waitangi Tribunal paved the way for the first and later Māori language laws establishing a partnership between the Crown and hapū and iwi for the revitalisation of te reo Māori.

Te wiki o te reo Māori is one of Yellow Consulting's favourite celebrations throughout the year, one that stands out as a practical model of inclusive experiences and smart communication bringing people together on the ground and across the world via the web. We see this as a way of expanding our appreciation and knowledge of Māori culture - pretty tu meke alright!

It is the perfect time to learn a bit more about Aotearoa’s second official language, and an opportunity for us all to honour our awesome, diverse country while also achieving those company culture goals of inclusion amongst all of your staff. Te wiki o te reo Māori, has been celebrated each year from 1975 and the chosen theme for 2020 is again 'Kia Kaha te Reo Māori’.

‘Kia Kaha’ is well understood in New Zealand English with its meaning of ‘be strong’. We often talk about languages as if they are people – talking about language health, strength and revitalisation. So when we say ‘Kia Kaha te Reo Māori’ we’re saying  - ‘Let’s make the Māori language strong'.

Te reo Māori is a taonga of Māori, guaranteed under the Treaty of Waitangi. But the Māori Language Act 2016 also makes clear it is for every New Zealander and a valued part of our national identity.

Some ideas you can try in your workplace;

  • Make ‘kia ora’ your first choice of greeting to everyone you speak to

  • Organise a lunch time te reo Māori lesson or attend a lunchtime reo seminar online

  • Practising vowel sounds: a-e-i-o-u and splitting syllables, e.g. Ta-ra-na-ki.

  • Know and use short greetings, sayings, and proverbs: Display posters to help people use teo reo Māori phrases around your workplace

  • Practise saying Māori place names out loud. The longest place name, which is a hill in Hawke’s Bay — Taumatawhakatangihangakōauauotamateapōkaiwhenuakitānatahu.

  • Find the te reo version of your favourite English word and share with others

  • Explore apps on protocols and basic language. For example, The Pepeha App helps you to introduce yourself and the Kawa Kōrero app provides guidance on attending a marae pōwhiri and hui, including waiata, mihimihi, and karakia.

If you're feeling adventurous, reach out and join the Māori language movement; Te Wā Tuku Reo Māori - a movement to join with thousands (ideally one million) of us speaking, singing and celebrating te reo at the same time.

It could be as easy as playing a Māori language song, starting your Zoom call with "mōrena", or starting lunch with a karakia! It doesn't matter if all you can say is “kia ora” or whether you're fluent, you can be one in a million. What you do for your Māori Language Moment is up to you but you won’t be alone.

Strength for an endangered language comes from its status, people being aware of how to support revitalisation, people acquiring and using it and from the language having the right words and terms to be used well for any purpose. Yellow Consulting is fully behind Te Wiki o te Reo Māori and keen to encourage more te reo spoken in the workplace – Learning a new language is never easy, but making an effort is the important thing, so give te reo a go!


This article, and any information contained on our website is necessarily brief and general in nature, and should not be substituted for professional advice. You should always seek professional advice before taking any action in relation to the matters addressed.

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