11 September 2017 - Te wiki o te reo Māori (Māori Language Week) is here.
This year, Rotorua has taken the leap of becoming the country’s first bilingual city and district.
But, what does that mean?
Te Tatau o Te Arawa chair, Te Taru White, says the declaration to become a bilingual city is a reminder for everyone living in Rotorua to think about how they want to support the language.
“Bilingual Rotorua is not only about seeing more Māori words around town. This concept is a conscious reminder that each one of us has a responsibility to protect taonga (treasures) that make Aotearoa unique. One of those taonga is in fact te reo Māori. Becoming a bilingual destination is about us as New Zealanders, looking at how we can support and protect the language from extinction,” he says.
In recognition of Māori Language Week, Mr White says there are many ways people can give te reo ago.
“It’s as simple as making it a conscious habit to pronounce Māori words correctly or by learning a new word each day. For businesses, it may be as simple as saying kia ora to each other. People can also support Te wiki o te reo Māori by learning about the meaning and stories behind place names such as Tūtanekai or Hinemoa. People need to remember being a bilingual city is about lifting words off the page and helping people live their reo Māori journey,” he says.
Mr White encourages everyone to give te reo a go.
Te Tatau o Te Arawa board represents the diverse voice of Te Arawa and provides advice to Rotorua Lakes Council under their joint partnership agreement, which was signed in 2015.
Te Tatau is leading the Bilingual Rotorua – Reo Rua initiative and is in the process of developing a business case with support from Te Puni Kōkiri.
Here are a few resources to help you on your Māori language journey:
If you hear a Māori word and want to know what it means, check out the online papakupu (Māori dictionary)
Are you considering adopting bilingual signage? Take a look at this best practice guide on the Te Puni Kōkiri website.
Keep an eye on Council’s Facebook page for helpful tips and kupu hou (new words) to help you on your personal te reo Māori quest