Songs help spread of te reo

By Greg Taipari greg taipari@hbtoday co nz

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Former Hawke's Bay performer Toni Huata says it's important to celebrate Maori Language Week.
Former Hawke's Bay performer Toni Huata says it's important to celebrate Maori Language Week.

Using Maori songs to help promote Maori Language Week is a no brainer says Hawke's Bay performer Toni Huata.

Huata, of Ngati Kahungunu/Ngati Rongowhakaata descent has a real passion for te reo Maori.

Now based in Wellington Huata has recently released her fifth album of bilingual tunes called Tomokia.

In the seven weeks since its release the album has sat as high as five in the New Zealand charts.

As part of Maori Language week Huata will be releasing a single called Taihoa.

"It's a message to whanau about thinking about what you do before you do it and about the over-use of alcohol or drugs or what have you. It's about sex and relationships and mostly about protecting your children and that is what the song is written for," Huata said.

This week is Maori Language week. Te reo Maori is one of three official languages of New Zealand along with English and sign language.

Maori language week's theme this year is "Te Kupu o te Wiki" (the word of the week) and will introduce 50 new Maori words to the nation over 50 weeks - that's one new word a week over a year. After 50 weeks, New Zealanders will have 50 new Maori words in their vocabulary.

As part of Maori Language Week Stan Walker released a single to celebrate te reo called Aotearoa something Huata thought was a great idea.

"At the end of the day. When the integrity of the person is there in what they're doing in their art form, their creativity or whatever and in this case Maori Language then good on them. The more the better."

She said that as far as Walker was concerned, he was maybe wanting to pursue work in te reo to know his taha Maori (Maori side) more and good on him.

Huata said it was important to set aside a week to celebrate te reo.

"For us particularly it's the language. So the general philosophy is to try and speak Maori as much as you can, i a ra, i a ra. That's every day."

- Hawkes Bay Today

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