A Hastings school celebrated Maori Language Week in cultural style this week by preparing a traditional Maori meal for its staff and students.
Flaxmere College shared a feast of boil up, made from pork bones, potatoes, kumara and puha, at lunchtime yesterday.
Leader of te reo Maori learning, Tamatikahu Ratapu, said having the small hakari [feast] as a whanau was part of the school's celebrations for Maori Language Week.
"Our whole school supports this event as a whanau. Staff and students have contributed and prepared the ingredients in the food tech room during the morning."
Running until September 17, this year's annual Te Wiki o te reo Māori is themed "kia ora te reo Māori" which translates to "let the language live".
Mr Ratapu said the school community had worked hard to prepare the feast in the morning; peeling a number of potatoes so large there were "too many to count".
Portions of boil up were available for all students who wished to try the food at lunchtime and they were encouraged to speak te reo Maori to support the language week.
"Our school is committed to strengthening our students' language and cultural identity. As a school we encourage our students and staff to use te reo in everyday conversations.
"It is great to see all of our students and staff embracing this week to learn more and new te reo phrases that can be used in everyday life."
Mr Ratapu said the language was taught as a school subject up to NCEA level 3.
"We have a range of students and staff who are fluent in te reo Maori and are committed to strengthening te reo Maori across the school."
It was important to continue speaking te reo Maori as it was New Zealand's culture, as well as a point of difference for the country, he said.
"It is our indigenous language and it is part of our New Zealand heritage and makes us unique to the rest of the world. It should be cherished."
The 2017 Waiata Maori Music Awards ceremony will be held at Club Hastings tonight and nominees include Stan Walker, Troy Kingi and Grove Roots.
The event starts at 7pm and those wanting more information can phone (06) 873-0041 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for tickets.