Te reo tips aimed at encouraging rangatahi to use Maori language

Maori Language Week began on Monday and runs until July 10.
CHRIS SKELTON/ FAIRFAX NZ

Maori Language Week began on Monday and runs until July 10.

A South Taranaki iwi has launched a new initiative in time to celebrate Maori Language Week.

Te Korowai o Ngaruahine Trust's project is designed to encourage the community to learn the correct way to say Maori words which are used in everyday conversations.

Pou whakarae or chair Will Edwards said the trust recognised that Te Wiki o Te Reo Maori provided a chance to celebrate the Maori language and also an opportunity for education to be passed on.

"The celebration of our indigenous language is really important for our whole community and also helps remind our rangatahi that our language is something that connects them with their whanau, hapu and iwi," he said.

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As part of the trust's vision to increase the use of te reo in South Taranaki, small flip charts have been placed in cafes and shops in Hawera and Manaia, which contain modern phrases spelt phonetically in Maori.

The initiative began on Monday, which also marked the start of Maori Language Week.

The phrases used in the flip charts include positive statements youth could use as well as things they could say in response to negative comments made by bullies on either the sports field or through Facebook.

If there was a positive response to the initiative, the trust planned to produced a different set every few months.

Edwards said the project was focused on making  te reo a normal part of everyday life.

"Most Kiwis now are proud to greet each other with a 'kia ora' or say farewell with a 'ka kite' and as more and more of our children are learning te reo Maori, the next step is normalising its use within our community," he said.

Every Tuesday, Edwards also runs sessions at Hawera's Linx and Caffeinate cafes, where people come together and talk te reo over a cup of coffee.

"We have a beautiful indigenous language and it's about time we found more ways for our whole community to celebrate that  and at the same time enable more people to become conversant and fluent in te reo Maori," he said.

Along with Te Reo o Taranaki, free reo classes are held at the trust's office, which attract a large number of Ngaruahine uri or descendants.

The trust also intends to run more projects throughout the year designed to build awareness of Ngaruahinetanga or what it means to be Ngaruahine.

 - Stuff

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