As a Māori, there is something really satisfying about having non-Māori pronouncing Māori words correctly, actually just trying to do the right thing.

People like Jack Tame, Guyon Espiner and Susie Ferguson normalising Māori language in the homes of New Zealanders every morning must be commended as the faces and voices of their organisations, as it should with national broadcasters.

It makes sense because the Māori language footprint is over every part of this land we all call home whether that be Taranaki, Tauranga, Maketu, Te Puke, or Pukehangi.

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Even hearing the simple 'kia ora' (hello) or 'ka kite' (see you again) is a huge buzz.

However, to maintain the momentum, we have to break the mould.

You see, as a young physical education and Māori language teacher, I had my first job at
Kaikoura High School in the South Island, a while ago now, but to my amazement, everyone including Māori pronounced the place "Kaikura".

It was foreign to me that firstly, my students called the town that name, but more, that their mums and dads, and grandfather and grandmothers had called the place "Kaikura" forever.

Then I got it. It seemed to be a generational thing.

The kids just followed the way mum and dad said it.

They knew no different and so the mispronunciation just continued.

And the downside was that if I, as a Māori language teacher, suggested that it was "Kaikoura" and not "Kaikura", both of which have completely different meanings, people got defensive and said I was wrong.


Thank goodness, times are changing.

Trust me, mispronunciation of Māori can be a real source of embarrassment.

So, e hoa ma, its Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori, a week to give speaking Māori a go.

That's all. Its simply, just try making a conscious effort to pronounce Māori names correctly, or using the phrases you have been learning in classes, or even not speaking English for the week.

Do what you can do at your level of understanding.

It is about normalising the speaking of Māori in our communities and remember that you set the scene for the future.

Encouraging things like correct pronunciation or just speaking Māori provides a generational shift, one where our young children and grandchildren will

Kia Kaha.

Te Ururoa Flavell is the former Waiariki MP and co-leader of the Māori Party. From October 2014 to October 2017 he served as the Minister for Māori development. He is now the chief executive of Te Wānanga o Aotearoa.