Tena koutou, tena koutou, tena koutou katoa.
Ko Parihaka te maunga,
Ko Hoteo te awa.
Ko Ngati Pakeha te iwi
No Whangarei ahau.
E mahi ana ahau i te Hawke's Bay Today
Ko Craig Cooper ahau.
This is a very basic mihimihi (aka mihi) or introduction.
I learned most of it about 20 years ago, and I am terrible at remembering it because I don't use it often.
Read more: NZME embraces Te Wiki o Te Reo
In my mihi, I am saying, to more than one person, who I am, what I do, where I'm from and the river and mountain I am linked to. And that I am Pākehā.
There is much more I could say. I am of British/European descent so my waka could be deemed to be one of the many of the ships that brought settlers to New Zealand.
Family history suggests the Coopers landed in Napier. Bright Cooper, whose grave I stumbled across in the old Napier Cemetery, was killed by a great white shark. Maybe we are related.
I mention all of this because it is Maori Language Week. We need Maori Language Week to remind ourselves of the importance of keeping the reo alive. And it also reminds us of the
mostly tokenistic attempts we make as a country, to keep the reo alive.
Because if a language dies, so does the culture. English is compulsory in New Zealand schools. Te reo should be as well. If it is not, then it says we do not value our culture significantly enough to want to ensure it stays alive through its language.
A parliamentary bill has been drawn from the ballot this past week that would not make Te Reo compulsory, but would place it on a list of priority languages that schools could choose to learn.
It is a well intentioned waste of time.
National Party leader Simon Bridge this week stopped short of supporting compulsory te reo, although he might want to consider that if it was compulsory, less people might, as he does, pronounce "reo" as in "reo de Janeiro".
MPs avoid the word "compulsory" because it attracts extra derision from people who rail against being told what to do, never mind what it is that it is proposed as possibly becoming compulsory.
No one seems to have a problem with maths - why not Maori?