Te reo Māori has been an official language of New Zealand since 1987, and Māori Language Week has been celebrated since 1975, raising awareness of the language, and encouraging everyone to embrace te reo Māori and use it on a daily basis.
The event will look a little different this year, with the street parade cancelled due to Ministry of Health guidelines around large gatherings due to COVID-19, but there are a lot of other opportunities for Wellingtonians to get involved with, says Mayor Andy Foster.
“The Council’s Te Tauihu te reo Māori language policy recognises the status of te reo Māori as a taonga, and celebrates, embraces and supports the revitalisation of the language within Council activities and around the city as a whole.
“There have been many examples of te reo being incorporated into what we do and say over the years, the renaming of Te Wharepōuri Street, adopting the name Tākina for our Convention and Exhibition Centre, and being gifted the name Paekākā for use in the precinct which includes the Wellington Botanic Garden.”
There will also be Piki mai ki Pōneke flags, and larger than life projections in the CBD, plus a Māori language moment for the whole country to take part in, says Māori Partnerships portfolio lead, Councillor Jill Day.
“Our Te Tauihu policy aims to make the capital a bilingual city by 2040, with te reo Māori sitting comfortably alongside English in all our cultural, creative and political endeavours. We want it to be a core part of the cultural fabric and identity of the city – Te Wiki o te Reo Māori helps us achieve this goal.
“This year, Te Wā Tuku Reo Māori will be a significant event where the whole country is being encouraged to come together at midday on Rāhina (Monday) 14 Mahuru to take part in a nationwide ‘Māori Language Moment’. We hope everyone will take this opportunity to show some aroha to te reo Māori and keep up the kōrero.
“We’ll also be making our own efforts to use and embrace te reo in our Council meetings too,” adds Councillor Day.
Along with the events and activities throughout the week, there will also be light projections on the exterior of The Embassy and Te Papa, acting as a canvas for te reo Māori phrases to raise awareness and encourage the public to learn, practice, and spark a conversation.
The projections will run from 6pm – 10pm every night during the week.
Key events and activities – (NB: some are pending COVID-19 restrictions):
- Rāhina (Monday) 14 Mahuru, midday: Māori Language Moment – Te Wā Tuku Reo Māori (register online to join the gathering of 1 million)
- Rātū (Tuesday) 15 Mahuru, 6pm: Ngā Tāngata Kōrero mō te Reo at City Gallery Wellington. Find out more here.
- Rāapa (Wednesday) 16 Mahuru: new signage installed at Wellington Botanic Garden entrance celebrating the area named Paekākā
- Rāpare (Thursday) 17 Mahuru: ceremony celebrating new street signs Te Ātiawa Rangatira, Te Wharepōuri
- Mahuru Māori at Capital E: Find out more here.
Find out more about events and activities happening around the city for Māori Language Week (14-20 Mahuru) at wellington.govt.nz/maorilanguageweek.