For many Northlanders, every week is Maori Language Week.

On a national level, MLW has been around since 1975, to promote and celebrate what is one of three official national languages in New Zealand. Our other two official languages are sign language and English.

It is a week that gives us cause to make a conscious effort to use te reo, and help create a building block that helps solidify the foundations of the language.

Read more: Whangarei team's te reo Maori app wins Maori Business Challenge


And in doing this, you are also contributing toward keeping a culture alive.

Along with reflecting on how we can celebrate te reo, the week also provides an opportunity to consider "are we doing enough?"

Rotorua has taken steps toward becoming a bilingual city.

No one is yet able to articulate exactly what that means, but the town's leaders say it is not merely marketing symbolism, but a natural fit for a town self-described as the heartland of "Maoridom".

The town intends to share its rich Maori history, and provide translations for Maori place names, and tell the stories behind the names.

It is indeed a natural fit for a town that exudes pride, and its proud, public display of its Maori culture is a big factor in that.

If Rotorua is the heartland of Maoridom, and Te Tai Tokerau is the birthplace of the nation, then surely we have a duty to also declare ourselves bilingual?

Because for many Northlanders, every week is Maori Language Week, and yet as a region we are still modest about celebrating our Maori culture and language.

On a whiteboard in the Northern Advocate newsroom is our kupu o te ra - word of the day.

Sometimes it is a phrase.

I think it began over a year ago during Maori Language Week.

It is a small, simple contribution toward celebrating our country's uniqueness.

Earlier this year, the Greens threw the notion on the table that te reo should be compulsory.

There is a strong argument for it to be compulsory up until Year 8. Although, matters of race and the word "compulsory" tend to result in counterproductive scenarios.

The thing is though, what has MLW achieved in more than 40 years?

The week itself is not tokenistic.

The attitudes exhibited toward it can be though, if we live in a country that does not yet consider itself bilingual, or an official language important enough to make compulsory for primary kids.