Te Puia celebrates Māori Language Week

Unique to Aotearoa (New Zealand) and integral to our identity, te reo Māori (the Māori language) forms a pillar of Māori culture and during Māori Language Week, New Zealand takes time to arohatia te reo (cherish the language). This year Māori Language week is celebrated from 27 July – 2 August.

Celebrated since 1975, Māori Language Week encourages people to use more Māori phrases in everyday life. To commemorate its 40th anniversary, this year’s theme is Whāngaihia te reo Māori ki ngā mātua – nurture the language in parents, which aims to encourage and support everyday Māori language use for parents.

Te Puia marketing assistant, Tomairangi McRae, says under Te Puia | New Zealand Māori Arts and Crafts Institute (NZMACI)’s mandate, traditional Māori culture, arts and crafts are celebrated every day and Māori Language Week has a special place.

“We reach out to thousands of people every day, both international and New Zealanders. Māori Language Week is a celebration in which we can reach out to everyone, promoting and nurturing our national, indigenous language.

“Prior to the arrival of Europeans in Aotearoa, there was no formal written language. Rather history and stories of each tribe were recorded through carving and weaving – traditional Māori arts and crafts which are still taught at NZMACI today.”

Māori was recognised as a national language in 1987 as people called out for New Zealand’s national taonga (treasure) to be protected, and is now safeguarded under the Treaty of Waitangi Act.

How to pronounce Māori vowels:

  • A as in aloud
  • E as in entry
  • I as in eat
  • O as in ordinary
  • U as in to

Māori phrases

  • Kia Ora – hello
  • Nau mai haere mai – welcome
  • Kei te pēhea koe? – how are you?
  • Māku koe e āwhina – I can help you
  • Haere rā – goodbye

Māori words:

  • Tāne – man
  • Wahine – woman
  • Tamariki – children
  • Tama – son
  • Tamāhine – daughter
  • Whānau – family
  • Aroha – love
  • Kai – food
  • Wai – water
  • Hui – gathering
  • Waiata – song