Topics: Māori Language Week, Te Reo Māori

Youth group take up challenge to speak Māori for 40 hours

By Aroha Treacher
  • North Island: East Coast

A group of young people have come up with a unique way to promote te reo Māori through a 40-hour famine style challenge.

Members of Te Tira Hōu will not speak any English for 40 hours as they encourage others to make speaking Māori the norm.

Through the spoken word and song, the language will flourish.  So they're taking the language to the people.

Irihapeti Roberts says, “As Te Tira Hōu, we want to see all the young ones around us knowledgeable in all aspects of the language and the protocols of the marae, just as Materoa had always hoped for.”

By getting everyone involved, no matter what race or age, to get a taste of Māori language and culture.

Josh Rakatairi says, “We are fundraising to help drive initiatives that promote te reo Māori to the people. Our aim is to travel to Hawaii and observe their language strategies and how they maintain their language.”

So although they are all fluent, the challenge before them is not to slip into the English language this week.

Rakatairi says, “We are promoting the language in our community and supporting our people, whether that be through language or customs.”

Te Tira Hōu was born through the group's love for the language.  All of Ngāti Kahungunu descent, they work together to play their part in revitalising te reo in Kahungunu.

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