The beginning of Te Wiki o te reo Māori will be celebrated in Whangārei with a parade organisers hope will bring attention to the week and encourage people to give te reo a go.
Following the success of Whangārei's first ever Māori Language Week parade last year - which earned Whangārei the Reo Town award from Māori Television, and earned organisers a Māori Language Award - Whangārei Girls' High School has once again organised a parade through Whangārei on Monday to celebrate Te Wiki o te reo Māori next week.
Whangārei Girls' High School te reo Māori teacher Moana-Aroha Henry, who is co-project manager of the parade alongside the school's head of Māori Ringi Hohepa, said the school decided to hold the parade on Monday, as opposed to Friday like last year, as they wanted to celebrate from the beginning.
"We hope those that do come on the hikoi feel the hype and this will encourage them to go back into their schools and into their communities and look at running something - it could be small quiz night - or to just bring awareness," she said.
Māori Language Week has been celebrated since 1975 and is a chance for concentrated celebration, promotion and encouragement of te reo Māori. The theme this year is the same as last - "Kia Kaha te reo Māori" and is about making Māori language strong.
This year's parade will begin at Whangārei Library at 10am and will end at the Hihiaua Cultural Centre where there will be entertainment.
Henry said they're expecting it to be bigger than last year's parade.
"We were extremely surprised at the turnout last year. What we thought was going to be just a small little hikoi to bring awareness to our town around Te Wiki o te reo Māori, ended up being really big and attracted people from Kaitaia through to Mahurangi.
"We've already had 1500 register this year."
Henry said the outpouring of support for the parade showed people who spoke te reo Māori wanted a place to get together to celebrate and bring awareness to the language.
"This is just one vehicle where we have that opportunity to come together and celebrate together no matter where you are on your reo journey - whether you're just beginning or you're fluent."
Henry said the parade is being driven by te reo Māori students at Whangārei Girls' High School.