Manu Kōrero raising next generation of orators

By Leah Te Whata
  • Auckland

Tāmaki ki te Waitematā secondary school students took the stage at Ngā Manu Kōrero today with some families saying today's youth are spearheading the resurgence of te reo Māori.

Cultural issues were debated by young orators at Ngā Manu Kōrero, Tāmaki ki te Waitematā.

Judge and Ngāti Whātua elder, Taiaha Hawke, says mainstream schools need to better support their reo speaking students.

“The calibre of the Māori language needs to be at a high level at both Māori medium and mainstream schools.”

Kaharau Mendes attends Mount Albert Grammar School and says Manu Kōrero provides students exposure to others who are passionate about the Māori language.

“All of the kids and youth here that speak Māori at this level, it's awesome to see.”

The Waitematā region produced two winners, a second and a third place getter in last year’s national competition. Some families say youth are spearheading a resurgence of language and culture.

Junior Māori competitor Maia Royal told Te Kāea, “Our Māori world is almost lost and part of that world is the language and if we revive the language we can revive the culture.”

Royal’s older brothers watched on from in the crowd. They said, "We’re very proud and it's awesome seeing her stand up there.”

“Good hear her speak our reo, hopefully, she can teach the rest of us."

Forty-one students stood today but only four people will go through to Nationals which will take place in Gisborne in September.