Kamupūtu | Gumboots event concludes Te Wiki o te Reo | Māori Language Week
Old myths are given a contemporary treatment in a stunning new te reo picture book being launched tonight, 13 September, at the conclusion of Te Wiki o te Reo Māori | Māori Language Week at the University of Canterbury (UC).
The first in a series of books designed to help children and adults learn te reo, the book Māui me te ao hou was created by UC Master’s of Te Reo student Unaiki Melrose, who worked with illustrator Jo Petrie to bring a popular Māori myth to life.
Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu (South Island Whānau Ora Commissioning Agency) funded the publication, which is a celebration of mana wahine, or the authority and strength of women.
Māui me te ao hou will be launched at the event Kamupūtu | Gumboots on 13 September, 5pm to 7pm, in the Engineering Core.
It is 45 years since the Māori Language Petition was presented to Parliament on 14 September 1972. The petition, championed by Ngā Tamatoa the Te Reo Māori Society at Victoria University and signed by over 30,000 people, modestly requested that Māori language classes be offered in schools with high Māori rolls. This event was the starting point for the many Māori language revitalisation initiatives we are familiar with today.
The history of Māori Language Week is bound with that of the Māori Language Petition. A Māori language day was celebrated in 1972 with the presentation of the petition to Parliament and this became Māori Language Week in 1975. Ever since then Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori has been held in the final week of July. This year it returns to its original date in September. Dr Mary Boyce from UC, who was a member of the Te Reo Māori Society, and active in Māori language protests, will be attending commemorative celebrations in Wellington during Te Wiki.
This year the theme for Māori Language Week is “kia ora” – a familiar phrase with historical significance: in 1984 Naida Glavish, a telephone operator for the Post Office, was told to stop using the greeting “kia ora”. Nowadays most New Zealander’s are accustomed to and comfortable with this greeting.
During Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori there will be a number of events and activities taking place at UC. We hope all staff and students will take the opportunity to join in. Kia kaha!
Professor Jeanette King
Head of School (Acting)
Aotahi – School of Māori & Indigenous Studies
University of Canterbury
The Māori language is very much revered overseas. While living in Asia for nearly nine years, I often saw the beauty of our language and culture in travel documentaries that highlighted the significance of Māori values and aspirations.
Internationally, being Māori is absolute gold. The nations across the world love our culture and language. I am often asked to do a haka wherever I travel, and everyone thinks that Jonah Lomu, the king of rugby, is a Māori too. I find this really hilarious and am quick to claim him as Ngā Puhi – my tribal group from the far north.
My friend Emma Puloka has been learning about my ‘Māori ways’ and is travelling across the Pacific for her PHD research. As a Pasifika person, we have very close ties with our language and cultural values. She is promoting our language across the beautiful Pacific, the land of our ancestors. Nā reira, ngā mihi nui ki a tātou katoa.