A Māori teenager is raising money for World Vision by speaking only Māori for 40 hours.
The World Vision 40 Hour Challenge is a global fundraiser aimed at providing clean water. World Vision Māori youth ambassador, 18-year-old Hemi Pinfold Whanga isn’t fluent in Māori, so speaking Māori for 40 hours is the start of his personal goal to become more capable.
“I think it’s more important to see a space in the future where te reo Māori and mātauranga Māori is the norm. It’s something you can use every day, where you can go into a shop or go to the bank or wherever and you can kōrero Māori and you don’t have to worry about being whakamā [self-conscious].”
The 40-hour challenge is also a life-saving act to prevent more than 800 children from dying every day from diseases related to dirty water.
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Whanga (Ngāpuhi, Tūhoe, Ngāti Maniapoto) and other youth ambassadors went to Malawi, Africa last year where he saw first-hand the difficulties people face.
“I met this 9-year-old girl named Madalitso, and she has to walk long distances each day to grab this dirty water. Māori think about the mauri of the water, not just as water to drink. For Madalitso, that mauri is limited. It means she can’t attend school, she’s sick all the time, her whānau are having trouble growing crops. So it’s quite a big issue rather than just looking at it, as just water.”
The World Vision 40 Hour Challenge starts June 16.