Topics: Te Matatini, Te Reo Māori

Gigantic Māori language zone for Te Matatini 2015

By Ripeka Timutimu

Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori is calling on speakers of te reo to create a gigantic Māori language zone during Te Matatini 2015.

It begs the question, do Māori still need reminding about the importance of our language?  Māori Language Commission chairman Erima Henare says they do.

Te reo Māori is heard onstage but it’s a different story in other places.

Henare says, “We are hoping that reo Māori will be spoken by everyone that is able to, throughout the duration of Te Matatini, so that the beauty of our language may be heard.”

He says our language should be spoken in all places, at all times, and it’s up to the Matatini audiences to take up this challenge.

“The purpose of Te Taura Whiri is to encourage New Zealanders to speak our language, we haven't quite gotten there yet,” says Henare.

The idea arose following the decision that reo Māori would be included in the aggregate section of the competition.  Henare believes the competition is so tight, te reo Māori could be the deciding factor on who sinks or swims.

“It’s the Māori language that will be the decider of who makes the finals and then who comes out on top.”

So whether it's onstage, at the food stalls, or in the audience, it's hoped te reo Māori will continue to be the foundation of this initiative.

“All of the groups agreed that the Māori language was a factor in who won at Te Matatini, so we wanted to really encourage the use of the language and this kaupapa,” says Henare.

Next week at Te Matatini, we'll know whether those goals have been met.