Monday, 1 July 2013

‘Arohatia te Reo – cherish the language'

Kia ora!  My class has been having fun with their Māori phrases this month - I have a stock set of phrases that are in deeply embedded in my  everyday language (I even ask the cat if he wants some "miraka"...).
We have been pushing ourselves lately though - Homai (pass me) this and that - roll call in the morning with more complex range of feelings
Kei te pehea koe?  Kei te wiriwiri!
We make sure we ask Papa Maru the correct pronunciation for things (turns out I have been saying the word for pen wrong all these years...).

To commemorate Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori (Māori Language Week) this year I want to share some history about it.
It has been a 'thing' since 1975.

In the last 200 years the history of the Māori language (te reo Māori) has been one of ups and downs. At the beginning of the 19th century it was the predominant language spoken in Aotearoa/New Zealand. As more English speakers arrived in New Zealand, the Māori language was increasingly confined to Māori communities. By the mid-20th century there were concerns that the language was dying out.
Major initiatives launched from the 1980s have brought about a revival of te reo. In the early 21st century, more than 130,000 people of Māori ethnicity could speak and understand te reo, one of the three official languages of New Zealand (the others are English and New Zealand Sign Language).
I hope attitudes are changing towards this language - although I do remember having a few parents (via their children) in 2012 be very difficult about even incidental classroom use of Māori language and how sad this made me.
Always meet this with a professional attitude - "it is the law in NZ and we are officially bicultural" - followed up with my personal opinion "I love the Māori language!" - not to mention it is good for the functioning of a young brain to know more than one language (although I don't suppose it matters what language that is... it may as well be one of ours!).

Try a Māori language quiz...

In 2014 Māori Language Week is from 21-27 July; the theme is 'Te Kupu o te Wiki', 'The Word of the Week’.

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