“There are four Māori words in Wellington City Council’s logo – Me Heke Ki Pōneke – do you know what they mean?” asks Mayor Lester.
“This week is Māori Language Week, so it’s a perfect opportunity to find out, as well as to try to use te reo Māori every day.
Me Heke Ki Pōneke is an invitation to our city. It means come and stay in Wellington. Put it together with Absolutely Positively Wellington and it oozes confidence. Come and stay in Wellington – we have a positive attitude and we’re positive you’ll like it here.”
Mayor Lester says he wants Wellington to be a te reo Māori city. “Te reo Māori is a taonga we need to protect, nurture, and grow.
“The Council is working on developing an organisational strategy with Te Taura Whiri i te reo Māori – the Māori Language Commission – to create an action plan that will mean te reo Māori will be seen and heard much more around our capital city.
“We have already been changing our signage to include te reo Māori and place it first when signs need updating, as well as incorporating more te reo in our publications. It’s time to take the next step.
“The Council will explore how it can include more te reo Māori in our city, including opportunities to name places.
“Around us we have Te Papa Tongarewa and Te Raukura – Te Wharewaka o Pōneke, let’s follow their path.”
Māori Partnerships Portfolio Lead Councillor Jill Day says she’s been learning te reo Māori for four years.
“As an adult I have found it challenging, especially finding opportunities to practice. So I am right behind finding ways to better embrace and use this official language of Aotearoa.
“I’d love to hear ideas from our communities about how they would like to see te reo represented in our city and suburbs.
“Through learning te reo Māori, I have also learnt so much about the Māori culture and about the history of our city and country. There are so many stories behind names and words, about what they represent and how they came to be.
“I’d love for it to be easier for people to learn and speak te reo in Wellington. Our recent Annual Residents’ Survey told us that people want to see more te reo around our city.
“In the spirit and words of Māori Language week this year – Kia ora te reo Māori!”