Loving the language

Te Ururoa Flavell
MP for Waiariki

Tēnā anō tātou.

It was a great pleasure to attend the recent National Māori Language Awards hosted this year in Tauranga. The great thing about these awards is the spread of organisations which are nominated. The eligibility is quite straight-forward and focuses on what organisations do during Māori Language week. So we have district councils, libraries, newspapers, schools, businesses and of course there is an opportunity to acknowledge those who have been major contributors to the survival and development of the Māori language.

This year, Dr Cathy Dewes of Ngāti Rangitihi and Ngāti Porou was celebrated for her involvement with a number of language initiatives including Te Kōhanga Reo, Kura Kaupapa Māori, Te Ataarangi and Māori broadcasting. In receiving the award, she told us to ‘love our language'. Even though I am a speaker of te reo Māori, I am still a learner. As a second language learner, you develop skills to get you by when, for example, you do not know a particular word or phrase. For me, the penny dropped! I for one have not considered that approach, but have leaned more towards just ‘learning'. If one follows Cathy's approach however, just like your partner and loved ones, you will give it the attention it deserves! You continually build on that relationship and you have a few hiccups on your path but you patch things up and keep moving. You interact and it is all about having a fulfilling life! All of this makes sense I think – arohatia te reo! Love our language. I think it does put learning our language in another space.

What was really encouraging was the number of non-Māori involved in celebrating Māori language in the workplace or projects that promoted the language. Things are looking positive for the future. As an observation however, I think it would be appropriate that those accepting the awards match the commitment of their organisations and do a better job of pronunciation. Trying to use Māori words is one thing, but at the National Maori Language Awards, people expect that basic pronunciation is competent! If not, leave it to those who can do it well.

As this article goes out to you, I am winding down on final preparations for the Iron Māori event soon to be held in Napier. I got roped into entering as a team and will be doing the 90km cycle leg while one of my sons is doing the 2km swim and the other son a 21km run.

I have been amazed at how this kaupapa has been embraced by people throughout the country. What is really impressive is the commitment of those who are not prime athletes but more the tall, short, slim, not so slim, young and older who have been training for months now. This has certainly happened in Rotorua and I am sure is also taking place in and around Tauranga.

I wish the best of luck to all my fellow competitors, I hope it goes well! I am looking forward to the challenge, meeting new friends and seeing the buzz that will come as people overcome the huge task that they have set for themselves. Kia kaha.

Finally, I mentioned in a previous article about the owners of the Rena seeking input from the public about what to do with the remains of the ship. They have now held a couple of open days and still welcome your views via a website they have set up which sets out the options. I encourage you to head to www.renaproject.co.nz read the information available and submit your views on the matter.

I welcome your feedback. Email: mpwaiariki@parliament.govt.nz Post: PO Box 12028, Rotorua 3045 Phone: 0508 924 274.



Posted on 28-11-2012 20:48 | By Captain Sensible

National Maori language awards...wow, I'm so sorry I missed it.

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