There are two key annual prestigious Māori events for secondary schools in the north, the Tai Tokerau Kapa Haka Festival (Kerikeri High School 2018) and the Tai Tokerau Regional Manu Kōrero (Opononi High School 2018).

It was a privilege to listen to the speakers of Tai Tokerau Manu Kōrero, held over three days at Opononi School last week.

I was able to listen via Radio Tautoko and Te Hiku FM while driving through the North. Te Hiku Media also live-streamed the event, which is always picked up nationally and internationally as well.

The livestream is helpful for those who are unable to travel. Last year an astonishing 180,000 people hooked into the annual Tai Tokerau Festival.


Congratulations to the kaiako who have supported the kaikōrero to attend the event and to the students who had the courage to stand before the judges and their peers. The flow in both reo Māori and English categories were stunning. Whether students were well prepared or not, their views are always helpful and indicative in the future planning of the Māori world.

Regional Manu Kōrero is an annual event, which heralds the latest and most contemporary views of rangatahi Māori, Taiohi Maori. Topics ranged from 'The most important project I can invest in is myself, to 'I'm a digital native', to 'why do matanga reo Māori (Māori language exponents ) criticise rangatahi expressions of reo'.

One girl challenged for more reo teachers in mainstream kura so she could have Māori role models. Another student suggested that those who want to check imperfections of te reo Māori should have a ngākau māhaki and not be an old walrus (my interpretation).

I recall some of my former kaiako reo Māori — Ina Waipouri, Pia Ihaka, Della Nathan — who were always helpful in their corrections in the use of reo.

Tai Tokerau has a point of difference in their regional competition, the Tā Hemi Henare bilingual division, which is always coveted by descendants of Ngāti Hine.

Special thanks to the organisers at Opononi School, Te Reo o Tai Tokerau Teacher Collective and the broadcasters from Tautoko and Te Hiku FM, who were also very informative in their intelligent commentaries re kiwaha o Tai Tokerau, and former winners of National Manu Kōrero : Amber Smith, Levi Bristow, Haukura Jones and Pa.

The finalists will attend the 53rd national Manu Kōrero in September this year. Mark my words, the best of the regional speakers will be at Gisborne this year, and live-broadcast by Māori TV. Whatever the rangatahi Māori agitate for at the national forum will come to pass within six months.

At this point in time, rangatahi are promoting the use of cool reo amongst themselves and more support for the digital use of te reo Māori, as well at risk factors for rangatahi in the future.

All the speeches and waiata can be viewed on Te Hiku Media live

Since the recognition of te reo Maori as an official language in 1987, te reo Māori has become an industry. I am very confident in the future of our reo.

Manu Kōrero is healthily competitive between wharekura and mainstream schools.
However, more work needs to be done to shore up support for kohanga reo, the growth of bilingual classes in the North and transition reo classes for kura kaupapa.

Te reo Māori must be alive on several levels, and there is more room for new models of teaching te reo.

Look forward to the formal announcement of the winners, as I missed the end.

Te Wananga o Te Rangi Aniwaniwa