• Leah Norman

Te Reo in the Workplace and increased job satisfaction?

This year, to mark Te Wiki o te Reo Māori, the team here at Yellow are reflecting on the link between speaking te Reo at work and job satisfaction.

Todays marks the midway point for this years Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori (Māori Language Week) and although these seven days in Mahuru (September) are when where we’re all encouraged to speak Te Reo, the buck doesn’t stop on Sunday.

As you may be aware from our previous year's blogs; Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori was established in 1975 to uplift and celebrate speaking Māori, which is obviously awesome. The not so awesome thing is, that once the week is over, most of us put the kupu and phrases we've learnt during this week to bed for the rest of the year.

What you may not be aware of, is that research conducted by the Auckland University of Technology (AUT) in 2019 found that organisations that incorporate Māori language, terminology and tikanga Māori “significantly enhanced” workplace mindfulness and job satisfaction, not to mention opportunities for including a range of diverse views and further professional development.

From a HR perspective te Reo Māori usage is beneficial as it fosters personal and organisational wellness.

In speaking to our clients about their experiences with te Reo in the workplace in the lead up to this week, it was obvious that the most significant barrier to people giving it a go, was fear of mispronunciation and potentially being either laughed at or offending someone. In each instance, our response is the same. It important to enourage your people to move past feelings of anxiety or whakamā (feeling embarrassed or ashamed) as realistically any use of te reo Māori – even if not executed perfectly – enhances its progress.

Other notable barriers were the multinational nature of organisations and a lack of Māori staff or knowledge about Māori culture, but if your organisation is able to overcome these barriers, by removing the "stigma" of mispronunciation and emphasising that te reo speakers need not be Māori, you will reap rewards in a range of ways

Without a doubt there is still "some distance left to travel" in terms of normalising te reo in the workplace. Te reo Māori is the key to understanding our past, our present, and our future as united peoples of Aotearoa. It opens the door to a different world that invites individuals to learn more about their connections to the taiao (environment) and their place in the whakapapa or genealogy of the universe.

Te reo Māori will always have a place in Aotearoa. Te Wiki o te Reo Māori is an opportunity for all of us to think about how te reo Māori could have a place within our lives. It is a language for all New Zealanders. Let’s commit to try and get better at using it.

Aotearoa’s future will be a brighter one for us all when we hear our unique language all around us from the biggest cities to the smallest towns, and everywhere in between.

Kia kaha te reo Māori!


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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