While the country celebrates te reo Māori for one week each year, for one school in Maraenui, every week is Te Wiki o te Reo Māori.

Maraenui Bilingual School was the first bilingual school in Aotearoa, and this year is a double anniversary for them. Their school is 60 years old, and they have been a bilingual school for 30 years.

Principal Christopher Worsley said he thought the school was outstanding.

Read more: Maori Language Week: Keep the reo alive and a culture survives
Napier City councillor Claire Hague devoted to te reo Maori language journey
Megan Banks: Tackling te reo daunting but time to stand tall like tōtara


"I think that the community, 30 years ago, it had huge foresight in terms of trying to retain Te Reo for the benefit of our tamariki."

Children at Maraenui Bilingual can be in one of two streams, or whānau, the bilingual whānau and the Rūmaki whānau, which is full immersion.

Children in the Rūmaki whānau go through a transitional English programme from Years 5 to 8 to ensure they are literate in both languages.

"From about Year 5 they have a time of learning reo Pākehā, English, and by the time those Rūmaki kids exit the school we're expecting their literacy skills be with every other kid in the country, but at least our kids have both.

"Bilingual kids have a different story, they come through in their early education mostly in English.

"They have more in-depth Maori as they get older."

The school has five Rūmaki classes, and four bilingual classes.

He said he felt like Aotearoa was on the cusp of making progress towards a bilingual New Zealand, which he believed was achievable.

He felt all children in Aotearoa should have the option of learning Te Reo, although he thinks there is not currently the teaching staff, and resources should be given to bilingual schools and kura kaupapa first.

"We do not have the teaching capability at the moment. As an example, I have one reliever available in my school.

"Te Wananga o Raukawa, Te Wananga o Aotearoa, EIT, they are all doing their best, but often it's still just barely scratching the surface. There needs to be a systematic emphasis and development from this Government to provide speakers of Māori.

"The first focus of that should be schools like ours, and kura kaupapa, and then worry about mainstream schools."

He said achieving a bilingual New Zealand just takes willpower.

"I think it's what makes us uniquely Kiwi.

"We need to value our indigenous culture and we need to make sure that people value it and feel part of it.

"The way to do that is through Te Reo."