Kia ora tātou katoa i runga i tō tātou Aotearoatanga
It is a pleasure to formally launch Māori Language Week 2019, to be held from the 9th to the 15th of September. It’s now time to prepare.
These dates include Māori Language Day, September 14, the anniversary of the day in 1972 when the Māori Language petition was presented to Parliament.
It was just one of many steps in the creation of our current framework for the revitalisation of Te Reo.
The Māori Language Act 2016 was another important milestone. This legislation established a ‘working partnership’ between Te Mātāwai - representing Māori and iwi - and the Crown - led by Ministers and Chief Executives - coordinated by the Māori Language Commission.
The strategies developed by the partners combine together to form the Maihi, or bargeboards of Te Whare o Te Reo Mauri Ora, the house of revitalisation.
Māori language week is an opportunity for all New Zealanders, here and overseas, to give voice and strength to our indigenous language.
Te reo is recognised in law as a taonga for Māori, guaranteed under the Treaty of Waitangi. It is also recognised to have value for the whole nation.
It helps define Aotearoa New Zealand and us as New Zealanders. We all have a sense of pride in presenting a bilingual passport, of hearing Māori language broadcast, and using and hearing it in everyday life.
As I travel around the country, I am delighted to hear Te Reo being incorporated into conversation, more and more, by New Zealanders from all walks of life; from formal greetings, to the use of words and phrases that acknowledge and celebrate our identity, our values and our sense of belonging to this country.
And as we saw following the tragic events of March 15, all people can draw on te reo Māori as symbolising us; what sets us apart, and what draws us together.
Maori language week is a wonderful time for us all to give it a go!
In formally launching Māori language week 2019, I quote these words from the famous waiata by Ngōi Pewhairangi:
Whiua ki te ao!
Get it out to the world!
Whiua ki te rangi!
Project it to the skies!
Whiua ki ngā iwi katoa!
Reach all peoples!
Kia Kaha te reo Māori!