This year Te Wiki o te Reo Māori | Māori Language Week is being held from Monday 10 September – Sunday 16 September 2018. This guest blog is by Dora Roimata Langsbury, Kaitoko Ako Māori (Learning Advisor Māori).
Kia Kaha te Reo Māori. There are so many different ways that we can each go hard with our Te Reo Māori.
Learning te Reo Māori has been a very long and very slow journey for me, but during that time my passion for our language has never diminished.
I remember how proud I felt when Naida Glavish won the right to say “kia ora” in 1984. It was then that I realised how powerful it was to use, even simple Māori phrases and kupu, to progress our national journey towards the normalisation of the use of kupu Māori in our everyday kōrero.
When I returned to live to Aotearoa New Zealand in 2002 I made a personal commitment to myself that I would use Te Reo Māori phrases and kupu as much as I was able, in my everyday kōrero.
Since I have started working at Ara Institute I have become a regular use of the bus service. I am very proud of the fact that Ngai Tahu and Waikato iwi have invested in Go Bus. They stated at the time that Go Bus was one of the largest employers of Maori in New Zealand and that this was one of their reasons for making this investment.
For this reason, when I get on the bus each morning I greet my driver with “Morena”, and when I alight the bus I say “Kia ora”. Recently, one of my bus driver’s was ecstatic when she heard my use of Te Reo. She stopped me, as I alighted, and thanked me profusely for using her language correctly.
One of my work colleagues has also started to embrace “Kia ora” as his regular greeting with me. He asked how he could pronounce it correctly, and now joyfully greets me with “Kia ora” each day.
So I would say to you, Kia kaha with your use of te Reo Māori. Just as Naida Glavish demonstrated to our nation in 1984, even the everyday use of greetings such as “kia ora” can really help to normalise the use of kupu Māori in everyday conversations in Aotearoa New Zealand. Although I have a limited vocabulary of kupu Māori, I try to use kupu every day, and to pronounce them correctly.
My one request to our nation is show respect to te Reo Māori by pronouncing it correctly. Te Reo Māori is a very simple language to pronounce. There are many web sites, phone apps, TV programmes and courses available to teach you te Reo Māori and how to pronounce it correctly. Te Hoe is a 10 hour introductory short course we offer here at Ara Institute that could start you on your te Reo Māori journey. Kia kaha te Reo Māori.