Mori Language Moment: Be the 1 in a million

By M Te Taura Whiri | Posted: Thursday September 3, 2020

Honour the past, keep ourselves safe now and prepare for the future together!

The Maori Language Commission has redesigned Māori Language Week so that this year, whether we are in lockdown or not: New Zealanders can come together to celebrate te reo Māori.

The Commission wants to get 1 million people speaking, singing and celebrating te reo at the same time in an unprecedented Māori Language Moment for Māori Language Week 2020.

Sign up here: tuku.reomaori.co.nz.

“To safeguard te reo we want 1 million Māori language speakers by 2040 but we want to start in 2020: even if only for a moment,” said Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori chair Professor Rawinia Higgins.

The commission confirmed it would not be hosting major face-to-face gatherings in 2020. This means language parades and the Māori Language Awards Dinner will be replaced with virtual events.

“COVID-19 won’t stop us coming together to celebrate te reo: it just means we will come together in different ways.”

“Our Māori Language Moment will take place at 12pm on Monday the 14th September 2020. This marks the day and the hour in 1972 when a group of Māori language champions presented a petition on the steps of parliament calling for te reo to be taught in our schools. They had gathered the signatures of 30,000 New Zealanders. We will always remember those who championed te reo when it was socially and politically unacceptable to do so. We want people to sign up for the Māori Language Moment so in years to come, just as people look back at the Māori Language Petition now: people can look back and see who joined the Māori Language Moment in 2020.”

“Te reo Māori is the language of New Zealand. But it still needs New Zealanders to keep it safe.”

“What you do for your Māori Language Moment: is up to you. It could be as easy as playing a Māori language song, pausing to do the daily quiz in te reo, starting lunch with a karakia or media outlets beginning their 12pm news bulletin with a Māori greeting. It’s an open invitation to celebrate te reo for a moment, a week, a month or even the whole year round How you do it is up to you: but sign up so that we know how many are joining us.”

We know New Zealanders see te reo as part of their identity as a New Zealander. Te reo is New Zealand’s language.”

Another change will see the Māori Language Week website become the Reo Māori website. Reo Māori will exist to support people throughout the year, not just during Māori Language Week. Whether you’re a teacher or a small business owner, an individual or a group of friends: www.reomaori.co.nz will be there to support you 365 days of the year; not just 7,” said Professor Higgins.


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