To celebrate Māori Language Week, New Zealand Post have released a commercial stating the fact that you can address packages in Te Reo Māori nationwide.
The face of this commercial is Lou Tyson, descendant from Te Atihaunui a Paparangi, and she spoke to Te Kāea senior reporter Rahia Timutimu about her journey towards becoming fluent in Te Reo Māori.
“Greetings all, Ruapehu is my Mountain, Wanganui is my River, Aotea is my Waka, Te Atihaunui a Paparangi is my Tribe, Lou Tyson is my name.”
The Māori language just rolls off her tongue now, but she recalls a different memory when her journey began.
Tyson says, “I was so whakamā. In my first class we had to say who we were. I didn’t know much. We had to say our name and say why we’re learning and I started crying.”
It was also that ignorance that stirred her towards learning te reo.
“It was going onto the Marae and not understanding anything, going to pōwhiri and not understanding, and it was so annoying because I didn’t understand it so I was like, hang on, I’m going to learn it.”
Lou moved to Auckland when she was 19 years old and this week will celebrate gaining her degree in accounting and being the face of the New Zealand Post commercial is just another feather in her cap.
She says, “I was overwhelmed, like why me? I was so proud and try to encourage people who are whakamā, who are in that place. I’m strong in te ao Pākehā but not Māori, it’s a struggle. You are going to feel comfortable, it becomes the best journey and the best thing you could ever do.”
The benefits of her journey are varied, not only spoken, but written also utilising today's technology.
“When we’re at home we always try to kōrero Māori. Just this week we started texting Māori.”