Migrants, visitors and Rotorua locals are invited to try their hand at te reo Maori this week.

New Zealand has marked te Wiki o te reo Maori - Maori language week - since 1975 and this year's theme is "kia ora te reo".

Maori Language Commission chief executive Ngahiwi Apanui said the theme was chosen to celebrate New Zealand's indigenous greeting.

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"Also because the words kia ora are an exact description of the intent of the new partnership for te reo Maori revitalisation between the Crown and Maori," he said.

"Together we will ensure that the Maori language has ora - life, health and vitality - which is what we convey every time we say kia ora."

There was a time when even using a Maori greeting, such as kia ora, was frowned upon.

The Oxford Dictionary of New Zealand English said the greeting became common in non-Maori use in New Zealand from about the 1890s.

But te reo Maori is undergoing a resurgence. Today more people speak the language, there are Maori schools, radio stations, television channels and movies.

Rotorua even recently became the first bilingual city in Aotearoa.

So this year the Maori language commission is asking all of New Zealand to say kia ora to te reo.

Schools, businesses or individuals are encouraged to introduce te reo into their daily conversation.


The Maori language commission believe there is a lot to celebrate in the history and survival of te reo Maori.

"Kia ora te reo Maori' will be the focus of that celebration."

Maori language week starts today and runs to September 17.

For more information about Maori language week or to find events visit http://www.tetaurawhiri.govt.nz/.

Some Maori Language Week events
What: Launch of a Korero pin
Where: 1148 Eruera St
When: Monday at 10.30am
Cost: Free

What: The authors of interactive book Korero Mai hosting an interactive session
Where: Rotorua Library
When: Tuesday at 10am
Cost: Free

What: Launch of Paul Tapsell's award-winning book in a te reo Maori edition
Where: Rotorua Lakes Council
When: Thursday
Cost: Free

What: Moana in te reo Maori
Where: Readings Cinema Rotorua
When: Sunday at 10.30am
Cost: $10 per ticket