Huria Robens, front left, with her son Te Korou, at her left, and daughter Irihapeti, in front, with the Te Rangiura o Wairarapa kapa haka group. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

EMMA BROWN
emma.brown@age.co.nz

A Wairarapa whanau has won an award for their intergenerational contribution to the revitalisation of te reo Maori.

The biennial Ngati Kahungunu Maori Language Awards have people recognised for their contribution to te reo Maori within Ngati Kahungunu [east coast of the North Island].

Ngati Te Korou, a Wairarapa hapu, was awarded the Te Whanau Whakaihuwaka award. It is given to a family that has worked to revitalise te reo Maori through inter-generational transmission, actively uses te reo in the home, attends language development and learning courses, and promotes the language.

Chairwoman of Ngati Te Korou Huria Robens said the award was an honour.

“Our whanau were extremely humbled to be nominated for a Ngati Kahungunu Maori Language award and are enormously honoured to have been chosen as the winner of the award for whanau contribution to the revitalisation of the Maori language.”

She said it had been a long journey and a battle to get her ancestral language to her children and provide a comfortable Maori language space for them to grow up in by normalising the language in her home.

“There are so many other whanau throughout our rohe [region] that are making significant contributions to the revitalisation of te reo Maori and I would like to acknowledge all of them from first-time mums at te kohanga reo this year, through to our Kahungunu kaumatua.

“Each kupu [word] you utter ensures another breath for the ancient language of my ancestors. I applaud you all.”

Ngati Kahungunu’s director of te reo and tikanga, Jeremy MacLeod, was thrilled with the high number of nominations received.

“This is our way of acknowledging those who have dedicated their lives to the revitalisation of te reo Maori within Ngati Kahungunu.

“It is a great way of saluting their commitment and showcasing these inspirational language leaders.”

The awards will be presented as part of the Te Reo ki Tua Ngati Kahungunu Maori Language Symposium in Hastings at the end of this month.