Pronunciation woes, the silent language of eyebrows and the politics of dialects are all tackled in a light-hearted NZME video series for Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori.

The videos are part of NZME's Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori (Māori Language Week) campaign, celebrated across all of its platforms.

In previous years the company has translated the mastheads of its newspapers, including the Herald to Te Hērora o Aotearoa, and published articles with Māori translations.

This year radio brands ZM, The Hits and Flava have all got on board by rebranding their logos with te reo translations and producing specialist video content.


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Producers Moehau Hodges-Tai and Allan George have led the charge.

"The overall goal is to bring awareness to Māori culture on a mainstream platform," Hodges-Tai said.

"Growing up speaking te reo as a child through kura kaupapa, I have been fortunate enough to see what a world could look like with everyone being able to speak the language."

The pair wanted to use humour and tikanga to break down any stigma.

"It is about changing minds and slowly educating our whānau and hoa (friends)."

Several videos highlight the more comical side of learning te reo in Aotearoa.

One tackles the touchy subject of pronunciation, and how/how not to approach someone who is struggling to roll their r's.


Another video looks at the "silent" Māori language, using only eyebrows.

"Māori culture is beautiful, yet funny," George said.

"Having come from a family of fluent speakers, steeped in the culture, and currently learning the language myself, I wanted to create some video content that speaks to Māori and non-Māori.

"The videos are somewhat heightened reality, but are true to Māori and New Zealand culture."

The Herald is running a series of articles around the theme: "So you want to learn te reo?", diving into the massive increase in beginner speakers across the country.

Topics cover the sometimes emotional challenges of Māori learning their reo, an in-depth interview with a fluent Pākehā speaker, and new arrivals to Aotearoa and how eager they are to learn the native language of their new home.

Photo / 123RF
Photo / 123RF

Māori affairs reporter Michael Neilson is also setting himself a challenge for the week to incorporate te reo into every conversation he has.

He will be blogging about the daily experiences for both the website and in print.

The Herald has changed its masthead to Te Hērora o Aotearoa for the week

NZME's regional papers have also come on baord, with the Northern Advocate becoming Te Māngai ki te Raki, Northern Age to Te Kōtiu, Rotorua Daily Post to Te Māngai Nui, Bay of Plenty Times to Te Waiariki and Hawke's Bay Today to Te Matau-a-Māui.

The Wanganui Chronicle has also permanently added the 'h' to become the Whanganui Chronicle, reflecting both the name of the region and the correct Māori spelling.