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Māori language week

A launch day for last year’s Te Wiki o te reo Māori [Māori language week] at Hau Ariki Marae, Martinborough. PHOTOS/FILE

Schools celebrate a momentous occasion
Simultaneous celebration world record aimed using te reo Māori

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Māori language week kicked off yesterday, and groups in Wairarapa and across the nation plan to make it the biggest year for te reo Māori yet.

Schools would be leading the charge, with special assemblies held in te reo Māori and language activities woven into classroom activities.

Mākoura College teacher Shari Taylor said the week would begin with a whole school waiata, broadcast live from the school’s Facebook page.

The school would also release a web series called “Bro-nunciation.”

“Te Kohanga Mātauranga students will teach us how to say famous place names here in Wairarapa and share a brief kōrero about the whakapapa of the name, teaching and learning with our community of Mākoura in a really fun way,” Taylor said.

A #captionthis competition running throughout the week would have Mākoura students match kīwaha [sayings] to images. Participants would go in the draw to win “Buy Māori Made” products.

Mākoura teacher Shari Taylor, bottom right, with students during last year’s Māori Language Week.

On Friday afternoon, students would play Māori music around the school and try to get as many people as they could to get up and kanikani [dance].

“We are full-on at Mākoura, and that’s how we love it,” Taylor said.

Lakeview principal Paul Anderson said Māori Language Week was always a significant event on the school calendar.

Anderson said the Māori pupil population at Lakeview generally made up from 55 to 60 per cent of their 450-odd students.

“This year, we have eight classes operating at level 4B immersion which means they spend about three hours per week focused on te reo Māori through regular routines such as karakia, te reo lessons, and kapa haka,” Anderson said.

As in previous years, Lakeview would run a prize draw where pupils would be awarded tickets for using te reo Māori in the classroom or out in the playground. Pupils could then use their tickets to enter one of eight different prize draws.

Pupil-led activities would include a phrase of the day, with Māori language games during break times.

Both schools would take part in this year’s Māori Language Moment on Tuesday at noon.

Organisers of this event encouraged all of New Zealand to stop and take a moment for te reo Māori, with the aim to set a world record for the largest simultaneous celebration of an endangered language.

People could join in the moment by choosing one of six different actions: kōrero [speak], ako [learn], whakarongo [listen], pānui [read], tākaro [play], or waiata [sing].

Māori language commissioner Rawinia Higgins said eight in 10 New Zealanders saw te reo as part of their national identity.

“Last Māori Language Week, more than one million of us stopped what we were doing and celebrated te reo together,” Higgins said. “We did it because te reo is still endangered and could still disappear if we don’t continue to fight for it.”

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