A 10-year journey to normalise and grow Te Reo Maori within Hawke's Bay will be launched at a gala dinner on Wednesday.

Fittingly, during Maori Language Week, Kia Tipu Te Reo Summit will showcase the approach, methods and benefits of strengthening the language in the region.

Bridge Pa couple Wi and Donna Huata are two central driving forces behind what they call a "journey". Kia Tipu Te Reo has a goal that by September 14, 2022, the number of Maori speakers in the region will be on the rise.

That same date is the 50th anniversary of the Maori language petition being presented on the steps of Parliament in 1972.


Mrs Huata said they envisioned that by then there would be 20,000 children learning Te Reo in a structured programme, with 30 per cent of their parents and 50 per cent of their teachers also joining the journey.

The launch will start at 10am on Wednesday with a powhiri, led by Thompson Hokianga.

There will be speakers from throughout the country, either side of lunch before the gala dinner and on the Thursday.

Mrs Huata said people from Te Reo Tuatahi, a group running a Te Reo Maori education programme in Auckland, would attend the launch to share its story and success.

Inspiration for the launch came from seeing that success and Mrs Huata's own concern a few years back that more people were learning Mandarin than Te Reo Maori.

She said injecting Te Reo Maori into classrooms could lift the self-esteem and general wellbeing of children, especially those with links to it.

Having spent the past 35 years living in the region, Mrs Huata said she wanted to show the link that could be forged between Hawke's Bay's brand as Wine Country and as a land with fluent Te Reo Maori speakers.

"It would have us rival Rotorua in tourism," she said.

Sileni Estate chief executive officer Sir Graeme Avery, who would be providing wine for the dinner, said he supported their willingness to improve Maori language in schools.

Looking to learn Te Reo himself, he said he wanted to be able to "connect better with the maori people".

He said pakeha would "embrace the language in their own time ... it won't happen overnight".

"I support what they're trying to do. It's just to be able to understand each other better."

Hawke's Bay Winegrowers' Association deputy chairman Xan Harding said there could be no greater expression of Hawke's Bay than when it involved tangata whenua.

"Great wine is an expression of the place in which it is created - the land, air, water and ultimately the people," he said.

Mr Harding said such events motivated him to explore closer links between tangata whenua, the region and the wine industry.

-It will cost $280 plus GST to attend the launch and catered dinner at the Old Church Hall. Those wishing to attend can phone 021 918 762.