She's a familiar sight in Rotorua classrooms, but much loved children's entertainer Aunty Bea Yates is set to enchant another crowd next week.

Aunty Bea will be taking part in the country's first Maori language parade on Monday, which marks the start of Maori Language Week.

At the end of the parade, Aunty Bea will be entertaining about 500 children with her much loved style.

While she normally travelled around local schools as part of the week, Aunty Bea said this was the first time she'd be in Wellington entertaining such a large crowd of children.


"It's 500 kids. Thank goodness I am used to the kids and know the kind of programme they will like."

Aunty Bea said she was looking forward to sharing her love of the language with Wellington children.

"It's just so wonderful. It's an honour to go down there."

She wasn't sure what the programme would involve at this stage but was likely to include
popular song One day a Taniwha "because everyone in New Zealand knows that song".

Aunty Bea said she thought the idea of the parade was fantastic.

"It's so exciting."

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Aunty Bea said she thought te reo Maori was doing well, something she saw when visiting schools in the region and said Maori Language Week was a good example of that.

"It is great that New Zealand has got behind the kaupapa. Everyone does something [to mark the week] now.

"I think New Zealand is doing a great job."

The Maori Language Commission is mobilising hundreds of groups and thousands of people to take part in the event which will kick off this year's Maori Language Week campaign.

The commission is calling on all groups from the public and private sectors as well as universities, wananga, kura, play centres, kindergartens, kohanga reo, sports teams, kapa haka groups, marae and hapu to join the parade.

Maori Language Week is about raising awareness te reo Maori is in a perilous state with only one in four Maori people and less than 2 per cent of the country's non-Maori population speaking the language.