This week is Te Wiki o te Reo Māori [Māori Language Week]. PHOTO/STOCK.ADOBE.COM

During Te Wiki o te Reo Māori [Māori Language Week], the Wairarapa Times-Age is publishing a story a day highlighting the language’s significance. Times-Age reporter KAREN COLTMAN spoke with Ikaroa-Rāwhiti electorate candidates about what Te Wiki o te Reo Māori meant for them.

Ikaroa-Rawhiti Labour MP Meka Whaitiri is looking to open a branch office in Masterton.

Meka Whaitiri
Labour Party candidate

What are you personally aiming to do to bring te reo alive in the coming week?

Speak more te reo, attend te reo specific events, acknowledge by sharing investments to date, from the coalition government on our reo and Labour’s policy in regard to te reo Māori.

Do you have any experiences of learning te reo?

I was raised on the pa and currently live next to our pa. My [late] dad was a native speaker. I studied it at high school and university. I’ve attended multiple Kura Reo [total immersion language course] organised by Ngāti Kahungunu in Wairarapa, Wairoa, and Hastings.

What is a good way for people to learn te reo?

There are many helpful online tools; books and tv shows on Māori TV. If you prefer more personal tutoring contact your local polytechnic or Te Wānanga o Raukawa in Otaki [tertiary education institute].

Do you think Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori is important?

Without doubt. It’s our native language and an official language. We need to speak it and cherish it.

Do you think that the Matariki star formation and time of year of significance to traditional Māori [as a traditional new year period] should be a public holiday?

If re-elected Labour will introduce Matariki as a public holiday by 2022. I support that. I support the plan to convene an expert panel to help inform us about Matariki. Learning about our own indigenous calendar, its meaning and significance for all kiwis is important.

Heather Skipworth
Māori Party candidate

What are you personally aiming to do to bring te reo alive in the coming week?

Kōrero atu mō toku haerenga ki te ako i te reo.
Talking about my reo journey.

Do you have any experiences of learning Te Reo?

Ae i haere ahau ki EIT ki te ako mo ngā tau e rua.
Yes, I went to Eastern Institute of Technology for two years to learn Te Reo.

What is a good way for people to learn te reo?

Mātakitaki ki te pouaka whakaata a nohotahi ki ngā tangata e taea ki te kōrero i te reo.Sit with people that korero [speak te reo]. Watch Māori TV as much as possible as you can pick it up from there because they have subtitles in English, and if able to head to a marae as often as possible.

Do you think Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori is important?

Ae he tino taonga te reo, kua tae te wa ki te kōrero me te ako to tātou nei reo rangatira.
Absolutely our reo is a taonga so ensuring it is kept alive is important.

Do you think that the Matariki star formation and time of year of significance to traditional Māori [as a traditional new year period] should be a public holiday?

Ae kei te whakae au mo tena engari ko te mea nui ko te mātauranga o Matariki, hei ora ai te iwi Māori.
Absolutely. The most important part is the knowledge and ensuring it is taught learnt and maintained for the generations to come. There is much to learn that will help with all aspects of our lives

  • The Green Party and the NZ Outdoors Party candidates did not respond by time of publication


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