As New Zealand anticipates the commencement of Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori 2023 (Māori Language Week), the principal of South Canterbury’s bilingual primary school reflects on the significance of these celebrations and the nation’s progress. This year’s theme, “Kia Kaha Te Reo Māori” (Making the Māori Language Stronger), sets the tone for a week of diverse festivities in South Canterbury. But for Arowhenua Māori School principal, Bronwyn Te Koeti-James, celebrating Te Reo Māori is a year-round commitment.
For Te Koeti-James and her school, every week is Māori Language Week. Their continuous dedication reflects the enduring importance of the Māori language. While Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori serves as a platform for raising awareness, it also emphasises the celebration of Māori culture, going beyond language to encompass traditions and heritage.
Te Koeti-James sees the increased visibility of the Māori language as a positive sign of progress. This linguistic resurgence signifies New Zealand’s journey towards embracing Te Reo Māori as an integral part of its identity, reflecting the nation’s unity in diversity.
Beyond Arowhenua Māori School, South Canterbury has diverse Māori Language Week events:
– Monday: Kaumātua Bingo, a lighthearted session for respected elders.
– Tuesday: A Māori language kahoot session for workers.
– Wednesday: A dementia hui in partnership with Alzheimer’s South Canterbury.
– Thursday: “Māori Moment,” featuring kapa haka performances and a TikTok celebration.
– Friday: Waiata Fit, a multi-agency kapa haka group, joins for practice and refreshments at Te Aitarakihi.
Māori Language Week is more than just a week; it’s a reflection of New Zealand’s ongoing commitment to Te Reo Māori.