It comes up every now and then, the question ... "is Maori language week tokenism?"
Particularly in a country that aspires to be viewed internationally as culturally integrated, as "happy".
When we aren't really. Not completely happy. But certainly far further down the path of enlightened cultural joy than some of our overseas friends engaged in civil war and acts of terror.
Because if we were - let's stick with "happy" - wouldn't we be awash with bilingualism and biculturalism? And people like Manuel Springford would be able to converse in Maori whenever he wants. Manuel has decided Mondays are Maori language days - te reo.
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So when he is at the bakery and he asks for a pie, he asks in te reo.
There's activism and pragmatism in Manuel's stance - he has learned Maori but he is not using it every day. And so, Manuel's Maori Mondays were born.
As many people who have learned it know, Maori is mostly used on formal occasions and is at risk of becoming a taonga brought out for special occasions. Manuel wants to use it every day.
And so he is also an activist - a word that sadly has taken on negative connotations - promoting a language, and thereby keeping his culture alive. It has been said many times, of many different cultures, that if a language dies, a culture dies.
It was said in the 1986 Waitangi Tribunal report of the te reo Maori claim.
The report also said that it stopped short of making the teaching of te reo compulsory, not wanting to impose it upon people. That was in 1986, nearly 30 years ago.
Perhaps if it was compulsory, there would be more people around to converse with Manuel. And if the language was stronger, surely that can only be a positive for the culture and New Zealand as a whole.