This week marks Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori (Māori Language Week), a time to celebrate and support the resurgence of te reo in Aotearoa. Being a Kiwi founded company, this is a week that is close to our hearts.
It’s important to highlight that this year’s Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori marks 50 years since the Māori Language Petition was presented to parliament. Māori Language Commissioner Rawinia Higgins states that 14 September is a day to honour those who demanded change, after a century of suppression where children were punished for speaking te reo.
Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori originated when on the 14th September 1972, a group of tangata whenua arrived at the steps of Parliament in Wellington. All ages gathered to demand the active recognition of te reo Māori, the country’s native tongue. They brought with them a petition of 30,000 signatures, and there was waiata, haka and chanting. Māori became an official language of New Zealand in 1987.
At First AML, we believe in fostering an equal and supportive environment where our team members are able to bring their true, authentic selves to work, and supporting the initiatives of Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori is an important part of that.
We spoke to a few members of our team about what Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori means to them.
“I love learning about the history of Maori, learning the language in honour of them, and doing my part to help bring Te Reo to my peers and ensure that the language lives on. As an Aussie living in NZ, it’s really great to see how Te Wiki O Te Reo Maori brings us all together and fosters the growth of this language. I think New Zealand is ahead of some other countries in how they respect the indigenous cultures.” – Dan Fleming
“In the past, I have done some evening classes learning te reo Māori. I don’t get to practise as much as I should or would like too. So I love when Te wiki o te reo Māori rolls around as it brings it to the forefront of everyone’s attention.
I also love the fact that my colleagues, and First AML, embrace it. Soaking up the learnings that this wiki provides! Giving it a go!” – Aroha Merrilees
The week is a great time to add more Māori phrases into your daily vocabulary and expand your mōhio (knowledge) of te ao Māori. Throughout the week, we’ve been sharing resources on learning our own pepeha – a way of formally introducing ourselves in te reo, some phrases and greetings that we can use in the office, and te reo practice sessions. A group of our team also presented a waiata at our company wide team meeting.
This past week has been a wonderful time of learning for everyone at First AML, and we hope to see more and more people participating in Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori as the years progress.
Kōrerohia te reo!
Hannah Sellars, Head of People and Culture