Many Māori were denied recognition of te reo as their first language, including generations who had their knuckles rapped in school for speaking Maori. Which is why by the mid-1980s there was a real fear that the Māori language was dying out. After much debate and pressure from many quarters, in 1987 Māori became an official language and Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori was established to promote te reo.
Te reo Māori is still an endangered language today. To have a secure future, it needs a critical mass of fluent speakers of all ages, as well as the respect and support of the wider English-speaking and multi-ethnic New Zealand community. This year by joining in with Māori Language week, you can help to keep a language alive.
For those schooled before 1987, Māori or otherwise, Māori was not a part of the school curriculum. Today many of us feel awe and pride in our children and grandchildren who korero naturally and confidently today. In 2020 it is not uncommon to catch snippets of te reo Māori in conversation on the street, the playground, in workplaces and on the tv or radio. Something unimaginable 50 or even 30 years ago.
For those of us not blessed with being taught the basics in school or with whānau who can teach us, how do you start? At Pinnacle Life we checked out the Te Wiki o to Reo Māori website and gave a few of their suggestions a go. See our blog to check out which were our favourites.