Encouraging people to use te reo Maori everyday has earned Mataia Keepa a Pride of New Zealand award nomination.
The 25-year-old's passion for the language has seen him launch the Facebook page, Normalising Te Reo in Social Media that has attracted more than 5300 followers since it was created three months ago. Mr Keepa has been nominated for the Community Spirit category. His daily posts targets all levels of learning with people throughout the world taking part in his lessons. He spends up to an hour each night putting together his posts.
"It's awesome [to be nominated], I'm over the moon. To be honest, I didn't think an accolade like this was possible," Mr Keepa said.
"But the reason for Normalising Te Reo in Social Media was not for these accolades, the foundation was to continue passing on the knowledge that was passed on to me and helping others eager to learn."
Mr Keepa grew up in Rotorua, but is now teaching tikanga Maori at Te Wananga o Aotearoa in Manukau. He also has a Maori language consultancy company, Oroia Ltd, and has been a Maori language consultant for reality television shows The GC: Season 2 and The Kapa. He is currently translating a resource for Waikato University and Unesco.
"Te reo Maori is synonymous with revitalisation and resurgence and bringing something back to life, I'm wanting people to know that it's already alive and we should be using it in our daily life."
The Pride of NZ Awards are being held in association with the Rotorua Daily Post, New Zealand Herald, The Hits radio station and TSB Bank.
For more go to www.prideofnzawards.co.nz