Hundreds of people are beginning to walk through the streets of Wellington to mark the start of Māori language week.

The Hīkoi Whakanui i te Reo Māori (Māori Language Parade) is travelling to Te Ngākau Civic Square from Parliament.

School students and kapa haka groups are singing a waiata while marching along with the public.

Event organisers says 4000 people were registered for the parade.


Jade Gifford was at the hīkoi and helped to publish a te reo version of Victoria University of Wellington's student magazine Salient called "Te Ao Mārama" which had all Māori contributors.

She said it was awesome to see such a great turn out.

"It's important for me because I see so much value in te reo Māori. I wish that one day it'll be just as frequently spoken as English here in New Zealand."

Wellington City deputy mayor Jill Day was encouraged by the turnout.

She was the driving force behind the Te Tauihu policy that's hoping to make te reo more visible in Wellington and for it to become a te reo Māori capital by 2040.

The council had recently renamed Civic Square to Te Ngākau Civic Square, a name that was gifted by local iwi. Day said they were already working on other bilingual place names for the city.

She said she would love other councils to consider following in Wellington's footsteps.

"There's a real interest in our country...other councils are really keen to follow suit which is fantastic."


"The revitalisation of te reo has been happening for many years and it's great to see it start to really get legs and be seen in a different way."

Members of the public stopped to watch and take photos of the parade on their lunch break.

Many school students held signs as they marched. One said "Toku reo Toku ohoho" "My language is my awakening"

The hīkoi was met by a kapa haka group on the steps of the square.