Jennifer Ward-Lealand is encouraging everyone to speak Māori during the month of September. The well-known local actress is one of many who are taking up the Mahuru Māori social media challenge that starts today.
The movie and television star will use her acting skills as an English translation strategy during Mahuru Māori.
“Let's speak the language so that it is normalised and heard throughout the country because we are all New Zealanders,” says Ward-Lealand.
Te Wānanga o Aotearoa's Paraone Gloyne has introduced two new aspects to the initiative, speak Māori one day of each week, or one week of the month.
“If another level was included, such as two, three or just one hour at a time, perhaps anyone could do it,” says Ward-Lealand.
Gloyne says, “Prepare yourself, let your friends, family and work colleagues know what you are doing, so they understand and can support you.”
Only three people took on the challenge when it began two years ago. This year, nearly 120 have registered so far.
“During the previous years, some people avoided me, but the campaign isn't to scare people, but to entice them to want to speak Māori, says Gloyne.
Jennifer hopes her ability to speak te reo Māori will go to a higher level once she has completed Mahuru Māori.