From this week, the Horowhenua Chronicle and all websites and newspaper publications in the NZME group, take a big step toward giving the Māori language the recognition it deserves.

All nzherald.co.nz online platforms and related print titles have started using macrons in the appropriate Māori words.

A macron is a line above a vowel to indicate that it should be spoken as a long sound.
The macron - known in Māori as tohutō (or pōtae - meaning "hat") - indicates which part of the word to stress, aiding in correct pronunciation, and can change the meaning of a word to plural, or to something else entirely.

It is only right that we should make our best efforts to properly present te reo Māori, given its status as an official language of New Zealand, and its deep-rooted importance to the people of this country.

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Estimations are that around 150,000 New Zealanders speak conversational Māori.

It is a living language, which is thriving on our radio and television networks and is a treasured part of our education system, from pre-schools through to tertiary institutions.

Māori words have also had a special influence on New Zealand English, with every Kiwi being familiar with a range of common terms and greetings, and with many birds and trees known only by their Māori names.

This unique part of New Zealand culture is something of which we should all feel proud, and it's something that we must protect.

"We recognise that this move has been a long time coming for the Herald. Macrons have been used sporadically in the past but we're making an effort to understand and apply them consistently from now on," says NZME head of production Lois Turei.

We'll be using resources recommended by the Māori Language Commission plus the assistance of our in-house advisor, Stacey Morrison.

There will also be education for our newsrooms in an extension of the te reo sessions which run each week in our central newsroom in Auckland.

This will be a learning curve for editorial teams and it will take some time to achieve consistency and accuracy.

However, we are committed to doing better and we welcome readers' feedback as we learn and improve.