Thousands of people turned up to support the Māori language parade today in Wellington. Māori Language Commission CE Ngahiwi Apanui says while the statistics are dire, feedback on the streets is a positive sign that attitudes are changing.
The streets of Wellington were filled with thousands of people who turned up to celebrate Māori language.
Puawai Winterburn, who is one of the many supporting the parade, says, "I'm here to support Māori Language Week. Let the language be heard far and wide."
Māori Language Commission CE Ngahiwi Apanui says while there is reason to still be concerned about the long-term future of the language, it is still spoken and sung by many hundreds of thousands of people.
"Māori Language Week is about encouraging those who don't speak Māori to speak it. Mahuru Māori is about encouraging those who already speak te reo to speak it, but for those who can't speak or are still learning, Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori is for them, to promote the language to encourage others the wider New Zealand to want to learn."
Political parties also showed up to support the parade.
Co-deputy leader of The Opportunities Party Geoff Simmons says, "We need to understand each other’s worlds to be able to honour the Treaty. All Pākehā need to be able to walk into te ao Māori comfortably to be able to honour the Treaty, so it’s great to be here to be able to celebrate this."
Green Party candidate Jack McDonald says, "It’s great to stand next to the kids and the schools today to represent the political world and to support the growth of te reo Māori."
Māori Party candidate Mei Reedy-Taare says, "This is all so we can all be proud of te reo, not just the few thousand here but everyone in New Zealand and the rest of the world."
More celebrations for te reo Māori will be held throughout the week.