Don’t know your ‘kia’ from your ‘ora’?

You, too, are welcome to celebrate Māori Language Week!

Māori Language Week 2019 9-15 September seems likely to have record numbers of people taking part around the country.

In one indication, more than 13,000 people have already registered to participate in seven official parades or hīkoi whakangahau in Wellington, Whangārei, Takapuna, Gisborne, Maungakiekie, Manukau and Hamilton.

The hīkoi are celebrations of Māori language and the Chief Executive of the Māori Language Commission Ngahiwi Apanui says everyone is welcome – even if you don’t know your ‘kia’ from your ‘ora’.

“Some people think the only thing they can do that supports the Māori language is to learn it. Not so! Encouraging young people in learning Māori language and celebrating their success, asking schools to teach your children the Māori language and culture, supporting the use of Māori language in signage, on websites and at workplaces are all important things people can do. And joining a hīkoi whakangahau is another.

“12,000 registrations this early is amazing! We are hoping Tāwhirimātea, the atua of weather, will be joining us in support”!

The Governor-General, Dame Patsy Reddy who is a Māori Language Ambassador will welcome people at the end of Wellington’s parade in Te Ngakau-Civic Square. Two other ambassadors, entertainer Pere Wīhongi and broadcaster Guyon Espiner will also join hīkoi and appear in promotions of the week.

Media, business, community organisations, schools, local councils and government agencies are taking part by organising hāngi, holding pronunciation courses, featuring Māori language on their websites changing their mastheads and looking at longer-term planning for revitalisation.

Ngahiwi Apanui says Māori Language Week is becoming an expected and popular part of welcoming the season of kōanga or spring. For Māori and other cultures, this is the season of rebirth, new life and hope. That’s what Māori Language Week is about.