Seven steps to te reo success

A year-long research project has identified seven key success indicators for a range of private sector companies, schools and local authorities using Māori language to support their work.

The study, led by Professor Jenny Lee-Morgan and funded by Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori, looked at the success of Air New Zealand, Microsoft, Spark NZ, Christ’s College, King’s College, Wellington Girls’ College, Christchurch City Council, Rotorua Lakes Council and Waikato Regional Council.

The seven indicators were shown in the work of colleges, companies and councils.

1. Make it your mission: Māori language is seen as helping the organisations reach and achieve their mission as a part of their business.

2. Be passionate: Passionate people including senior managers, CEOs and principals need to be actively promoting revitalisation.

3. Engage: Relationships and Māori networks ensure organisations ‘do the right thing’ and show a commitment to te reo Māori, from ensuring correct pronunciation of names to delivering a mihi.

4. Feel the fear: Organisations provide positive, supportive and encouraging Māori language experiences recognising that there is often a fear about learning te reo Māori.

5. See te reo Māori: Māori language is made visible in the previously monolingual landscape of organisations boosting the status and mana of te reo Māori through building names and signage and the use of te reo in all organisational communication, via reports, email greetings and sign-offs, or marketing and information.

7. Innovate: All organisations demonstrated innovation with te reo Māori.

8. Aotearoatanga: The organisations identified te reo Māori as integral to a New Zealand cultural heritage and national identity identifying themselves as local to Aotearoa New Zealand and as ‘modern’ New Zealanders, adopting te reo Māori as part and parcel of their nationality.

Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori chair, Professor Rawinia Higgins says the report is a milestone in the way New Zealanders embrace the nation’s founding language.

“These are successful New Zealand institutions with reputations for forward thinking and commitment to their communities. They show other innovators that te reo is part of our future as New Zealanders as well as our success as a nation,” said Professor Higgins.

“This year’s Te Wiki o te Reo Māori engaged with millions of New Zealanders from all walks of life who are seeing te reo as a part of who they are.”

“Some say promoting te reo is a marathon, I like to call it a relay because it really is an intergenerational strategy. We need to ensure that the conditions we set in our generation are conducive for the next generation to take up the baton and continue with the race.

It takes one generation to lose the language, it takes three generations to restore it: we are in it for the long game.”


Read the report here.