Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori: Māori language week

mānawa – mangroves

While out walking around the mangrove estuary the other day we passed an area which accommodates several of Navy buildings. Devonport has been the Navy’s base for a good deal of years, and this area is just one part of it. It is a tranquil place, settled beside the mangroves and looking across water to a peninsula, and to the harbour bridge to the south. The glare was harsh on the water, when I took this shot, just a few steps on from the navy marae, Te tau Moana marae.(This tab will give you a sample of simple greetings, if you were to introduce yourself in te reo Māori. Example here is from an NZIE meeting at the marae). Kerry and I skirted around the wharenui (large house in the centre of the marae, meeting ground).


We walked around the grounds for a while, enjoying the area, and the whakairo (carving) on the wharenui. The carved figure centre front of the meeting house was rather stunning, so I took a photo, thinking it would make a nice sketch, and we continued on our way, circumnavigating the sports field and walked back home past the tennis courts and onto Calliope Road. The following day I took out my sketchbook, and realised it was the start of Māori language week. My sketch now held further significance. I have drawn carved figures before, when studying Māori visual art at teachers’ training college, some years back, but never one with a blue design on its face. I chose artist-quality coloured pencils; Indian red; light cobalt blue, and black. These are soft and smooth to apply, and very nice to use.

The Goals of Te Wiki o te Reo Māori are to create a positive environment for the use of Māori language to: promote Māori language initiatives and events; encourage non-Māori speaking New Zealanders to use reo Māori; encourage speakers of Māori to support others who are just starting out; encourage community, business, government and media organisations to participate; promote resources to make Māori language more accessible; contribute to awareness of the Crown Māori Language Strategy and the Māori and iwi (tribe) strategy that work together for revitalisation.

In recent years there has been a huge take up of te reo Māori, especially with broadcasters in radio and television. It is great to hear te reo Māori spoken on a daily basis; considering the language was brought close to extinction through the forced use of English in our schools. English and te reo Māori are both our national languages. Let’s keep hearing and learning more!

Haera ra

8 thoughts on “Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori: Māori language week

  1. Kia ora, Vivienne. Great post! I am familiar with this beautiful marae. My brother was married there! This week, Maori Language Week, my nephew gave a presentation on Instagram in fluent Maori, and I was so impressed I am now inspired to learn.


    • What a beautiful place to be married. It is great to see te Reo being learnt by so many. My brother is fluent, having spent a year doing immersion learning some years ago. I learned little during teacher trying days, but could definitely do with more.


  2. There are many indigenous groups here in Canada who have suffered the same fate as the Maori. There is a resurgence of late in interest in native languages and making them more appealing to the younger generations. Consequently, several popular children’s shows have been translated into Inuktitut and other languages.


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