Recognising legacy contributions to the revival of te reo Māori

Pioneering te reo Māori movements and milestones were celebrated at this year’s Māori language honours event held tonight in Tāmaki Makaurau, Auckland. 

The Māori Language Honours - Ngā Kākā Kura o te Reo Māori held at the Cordis Hotel acknowledged the outstanding contributions and hard-fought wins to revive the Māori language, dating back more than 50 years when te reo Māori was in danger of dying out.  

The special honours night was co-hosted by the Māori Language Commission – Te Taura Whiri I te Reo Māori and Te Mātāwai.  

Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori Chief Executive Ngāhiwi Apanui says the battle for te reo Māori has been fought by many people doing extraordinary things to ensure its survival. 

“It’s wonderful to be here acknowledging those language activists who laid the foundations for the revitalisation of te reo Māori.”  

“We believe that te reo Māori is New Zealand's language and a language for all New Zealanders. The achievements over the last 50 years give us hope of achieving the goal of 1 million speakers of te reo Māori by 2040,” says Apanui.  

Honourees included Kōhanga Reo movement, which marked its 40th anniversary, Te Matatini, which celebrated its 50th anniversary, radio station Te Reo Irirangi o Te Upoko o Te Ika, and Ngā Kaiwhakapūmau i te Reo. 

Te Mātāwai Chief Executive Professor Poia Rewi believes the future for te reo Māori for iwi, hapū and whānau in communities is in a good state but requires fostering.  

“The success of the Māori language revitalisation movement hinges on the continuing goodwill of many people volunteering their time, energy, and expertise.  

“While community leaders and Māori language proponents are certainly adept at creating conditions for language acquisition despite scant resourcing, we must be acutely aware of the limits to this energy.”  


For further media information, please contact 

Whitinga Harris 

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Eruini Paranihi 

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