Tag Archives: Māori Language Week

Diversity Fest 2019 starts Monday


Diversity Fest (9 September – 11 October) is an opportunity for staff and students to celebrate UC’s diverse community, while exploring how we can further make this a place where we feel we all belong.

There’s a range of events and activities you can get involved in over the next five weeks – see Diversity Fest events here>

Diversity Fest kicks off next week with Te Wiki o te Reo Māori | Māori Language Week – find out more here.

On Wednesday 11 September check out the International Fashion Showcase, hosted by the University of Canterbury Global Society and UCSA. There’ll be traditional and modern cultural pieces on the runway as well as cultural performances, music, dance and art. Find out more and get your tickets here

He waka eke noa. A canoe on which everyone may embark. 

UC Sustainability Champion: Meet Abby

This year, we’re proud to be profiling students and staff who we believe are contributing to the culture of sustainability at UC. We are running this campaign in the lead up to the 2019 UC Sustainability Awards, so get thinking about who you’ll be nominating this year! Nominations for the Awards are open from now until the 31 August (see our website for the nomination form and all the details).

In the meantime, read on and enjoy our next Sustainability Champion profile from the wonderful Abby – she’s a keen advocate for climate justice, one of our regular community garden volunteers, and is on the exec for two of our fave UCSA clubs: Digsoc and the Eco Clubs Network. You might also recognise her from the recent UC Me campaign, or perhaps one of her regular pieces in Canta.

Somehow, she’s doing all this while studying towards her BA in Philosophy and Te Re Māori – so make sure you check out the video below of Abby singing a beautiful waiata during last year’s Te Wiki o te Reo Māori!

Tell us about yourself!

Kia ora koutou katoa! My name is Abby and I’m studying a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy and Te Reo Māori. I am passionate about eco-sustainability, languages, and music. A fun fact about me is that I am slightly obsessed with my dungaree collection – I own six pairs of dungarees and one pinafore, and am always on the hunt for more. I have also been teaching myself guitar for 3 years, and have aspirations of becoming a high school languages teacher in French and Te Reo Māori, as well as maybe English, Music and/or ESOL.

Abby in gardens


Tell us how you become involved with sustainability at UC.

I initially started studying a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science and Psychology (I’m now doing a BA in Philosophy, Te Reo Māori and French – but that’s another story) and I have always been passionate about the environment and advocating for climate justice. When I changed my study pathway I still wanted to keep myself involved in sustainable/eco/environmental pursuits and I started volunteering at the Waiutuutu Community Gardens on campus (previously Okeover Community Gardens). I started helping out there in June 2017 after I accidentally found myself at their end of term pizza party (homemade in a pizza oven onsite!) which was absolutely delicious/glorious, I might add.

Kim, Varvara, Andrew and Abby

What has been a sustainability project that has meant a lot to you?

An ongoing sustainability project has been the process of moving towards a more bilingual community garden at UC, which acknowledges te ao Māori and the relationship tāngata whenua have with their taiao (environment). This includes the new name/ingoa hou that was gifted by Kai Tahu kaumatua at the end of 2018: Te Ngaki o Waiutuutu, or in English, Waiutuutu Community Garden.

Waiutuutu is the historic/original Māori name for our Okeover Stream that runs through UC’s main campus. It translates to waters of reciprocity.

Abby leading a waiata as part of te Wiki o te Reo Māori / Māori Language Week 2018 in Waiutuutu Community Garden

Tell us about some other areas of your life at UC.

  • QCanterbury, Social Media Manager
  • DigSoc, Events ‘Wormlord’
  • CANTA Contributor
  • Thursdays in Black, General Exec
  • Eco Clubs Network, General Exec

 What is something that has made you feel really proud and a part of UC?

End of year sustainability party

I helped to organise a pizza party last year at the gardens last year that had an amazing turn out. It was a little overwhelming to have fifty to eighty hungry university students, staff, and Ilam locals wander through our māra and feed them homemade oven fired pizza. We also had the smoothie bike up and running, and finished with pineapple sage tea and an outdoor movie screening of Occupy the Farm. I loved being able to share my favourite place on campus (and best kept secret) with new people.



Where to next for you?

I am finishing off my undergraduate degree, after which I intend to complete my Masters of Teaching (Secondary) to become a high school teacher in Te Reo Māori and French.


This message was bought to you by the UC Sustainability Office. Stay connected and follow us on FacebookInstagram or sign up to our newsletter to stay in the loop about campus sustainability. This blog is part of our Sustainability Champions Campaign, where we profile UC students and staff doing great things for sustainability. This is part of our wider communications plan for the 2019 UC Sustainability Awards. For more information, and for the Awards nomination form, see our website.

Te Wiki o te Reo Māori continues at UC this week

Kia ora anō e hoa mā,

UC continues to mark Māori Language Week this week, with a range of events still to come. I encourage you to keep up your efforts and push your comfort boundaries. Add a little bit more each day. Practise what you know on friendly people.

For me though, it doesn’t stop this Friday. I use te reo Māori every day, week in, week out. How? Well, I read and listen to te reo Māori every day, and also try to speak to at least one other person in Māori. I write something in Māori most days.

I regularly watch Māori TV and news on Te Karere and Te Kāea. These are mostly subtitled, so accessible to all.

If you are still starting out, try pronouncing every Māori word you come across in a more Māori way. Talk to your pet in Māori – typically a totally uncritical audience. Find others in your work area who are giving it a go and work on it with them. Consider doing a course in te reo via Aotahi here on campus.

Come along to the Te Reo for the Workplace courses for staff (you can find those on the Learning and Development website). We are currently seeking more participants for 2 August and 6 September in the afternoon.

Karawhiua e hoa mā.

Mary Boyce

Reo Tū, Reo Ora: 35 years of Māori Language Revival

It’s been 35 years since the first kōhanga reo opened in 1982 and now our second and third generations of children are growing up amid a myriad of changing revitalisation initiatives. University of Canterbury Te Whare Wānanga o Waitaha Associate Professor Jeanette King of Aotahi: School of Māori and Indigenous Studies looks at what’s happening, what’s working and where are we headed?

A lot is happening with regard to te reo Māori, the indigenous language of our country. Revitalisation may have started 35 years ago with kōhanga reo and hundreds of children and their parents taking a few shaky footsteps on a path to learn te reo, but, as a result, today we have many language initiatives playing a role in encouraging and supporting language use.

Māori immersion education options – from pre-school through to tertiary level – are available throughout the country. For adults who don’t know any reo there are many options, many of them free. (Check out the websites for Te Ataarangi and Te Wānanga o Aotearoa if you want to get started.) For those who want to advance their intermediate and higher level language skills, many tribes supply language resources and host activities to help tribal members increase their knowledge and use of Māori. We also have iwi radio stations and Māori Television which have a great range of programming focusing on Māori language and culture.

Since the mid-90s, however, it was realised that the emphasis on education and broadcasting initiatives wasn’t enough: we needed to encourage the use of Māori in the home. Since then both government agencies and increasing numbers of tribal authorities have formed language plans and initiatives to support parents in the home.

A good example comes from Ngāi Tahu – they aim to have 1000 Ngāi Tahu homes speaking Māori by 2025 (Kotahi Mano Kāika, Kotahi Mano Wawata). They provide resources and information to their tribal members as well as running regular language camps for parents and children. Ka mau te wehi! That’s outstanding!

What have we learned?

There isn’t one solution that will guarantee the revitalisation of the Māori language. Instead, we need a wide range of different sectors engaged, as well as a regular input of fresh ideas. For example, Te Taura Whiri i Te Reo Māori (the Māori Language Commission) recently began running 2-3 day hui to help people plan language strategies for whatever community group they are working with. Te Taura Whiri also allocates Mā Te Reo funding to support communities to produce language resources or run language workshops. And you may have noticed that Māori Language Week doesn’t just focus on seven days a year; there are new words each week throughout the year. What a great way to build up your vocabulary. (Check out the Taura Whiri website for digital copies of these resources.)

We have also learned that we need to encourage everyone to use what language they have and perhaps make a few steps to learn a little more. This has been termed the ZePA model (Zero > Passive > Active). No matter where you are on this continuum, the idea is to keep right shifting. This week our Prime Minister John Key noted that the exposure he gets to te reo in his job means he’s able to understand more and more of what is being said. He also claims he knows all the Māori words to the national anthem. Ka wani kē! Fabulous!

Uniquely New Zealand

There are a number of aspects that help with the revitalisation of te reo. Unlike other countries which have many indigenous languages, we have just one, which has made it easier to fight and lobby for government acknowledgement and support.

Aspects of Māori culture are also supportive to wider acceptance and use of the Māori language. It is well known that the epitome of Māori cultural expression are the rituals enacted on marae. For well over a century, welcome ceremonies (pōwhiri) have been used to welcome dignitaries and celebrities to Aotearoa. The public and inclusive nature of these ceremonies may be why most of us believe that Māori culture is an important part of what makes New Zealanders unique.

The Māori language has also influenced the variety of English we speak here, New Zealand English. In fact, one of our variety’s most distinctive aspects is its use of Māori words. Besides words for flora and fauna (kauri, pipi, tūī, kiwi) our knowledge of words for social and material culture (hui, kaumātua, whānau, haka, poi, puku) is increasing each year. It’s estimated that the average New Zealander can recognise 70-80 Māori words. Tau kē Aotearoa! Awesome New Zealand!

Where are we headed?

With various tribal organisations now putting energy into language revitalisation the greatest opportunity and challenge in the coming years will be how the focus on dialects contributes to the wider revitalisation efforts.

Positive attitudes towards te reo Māori among our population continue to improve. There is an increasing sense that Māori language is part of our social fabric and identity.

Ākina te reo! Give te reo Māori a go!