Support for te reo programme

By Ruth Keber

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Ngai Te Rangi chairman Charlie Tawhiao, left, and Maori Language Commission representative Gareth Seymour (right) met with Tauranga Te Reo founder Pat Spellman to show their support for the project. Photo / Ruth Keber
Ngai Te Rangi chairman Charlie Tawhiao, left, and Maori Language Commission representative Gareth Seymour (right) met with Tauranga Te Reo founder Pat Spellman to show their support for the project. Photo / Ruth Keber

The Maori Language Commission is endorsing the te reo Maori campaign in Tauranga and would like the project copied in other communities.

Commission representative Gareth Seymour met Tauranga Te Reo founder Pat Spellman and Ngai Te Rangi chairman Charlie Tawhiao yesterday to show support for the project.

Maori Language Commission acting chief executive Pita Paraone said the campaign supported the Government's proposed Maori Language Strategy.

"It mandates bilingual signage, more use of te reo in the IT sector and for iwi to lead their own language initiatives.

"This campaign will provide leadership for the wider use of te reo Maori," he said.

"With Moana Tauranga leading the way we can see a time where this kind of initiative is shared by the rest of Aotearoa."

Tauranga Te Reo founder Pat Spellman said the commission's endorsement gave the campaign some weight.

"It's the first step of what they had been trying to get off the ground and they are stoked that it is in Tauranga, which is one of their main centres of emphasis."

"So the Ministry of Maori Affairs and the Maori Language Commission have come out and said this is really good work guys, how can we help, and they are going to help with resources," Mr Spellman said.

The commission would work with him to ensure project branding was consistent with the use of the right Maori words being used, he said.

"And to make sure what we are running is complementing and running parallel with what they are doing, so we are not overlapping or confusing people," he said.

The commission had also offered to help with funding through the Ma Te Reo programme.

Momentum was still building and the official launch would be during Maori Language Week later this year.

"But instead of unveiling the signage, we are going to focus on the 'kia ora' pledge."

A kia ora sticker will be placed in store windows in the city, kia ora badges given to store workers to wear and people would be encouraged to use the phrase.

"That is what we are going to launch as apart of our te reo campaign until we can get the bilingual signs off the ground."

Language history
*Maori language evolved in Aotearoa over several hundred years.
*There were regional variations that probably widened because local populations were relatively isolated.
*These variations had their origins in the fact that the ancestors of modern Maori came by canoe from different villages and islands in eastern Polynesia.

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