Māori waiata (songs) will ring out from the lower levels of Te Aka Mauri at lunch time today as part of Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori celebrations, and members of the public are invited to join in.
A group of local performers, made up mainly of staff from Rotorua Library and Rotorua Lakes Council, will be singing waiata from 12.15pm to 12.45pm in the Community Pride Space on the ground floor at Te Aka Mauri.
The performers are all at different learning levels with some having grown up surrounded by waiata and others being new to te reo Māori and to singing.
The words to each waiata will be up on the big screen and members of the public are encouraged to have a go and sing along whether the songs are familiar or not.
"It would be great if people would join in," says library director Jane Gilbert.
"We've got some really well known waiata that are known throughout Aotearoa and also many that are specific to Te Arawa."
The waiata group practises weekly in their lunch breaks and is looking forward to sharing its favourite waiata with library visitors on Thursday.
One of the group members, Rotorua Library kaiurungi mātauranga Māori Anahera Sadler, said singing was a great way of bringing people together and adding a bit of joy and aroha (love) to people's day.
Sadler is looking forward to staff and members of the public coming together as one whānau (family) to support the same kaupapa (initiative), the use of te reo Māori throughout Rotorua, in all public spaces and everywhere.
Rotorua Library Te Aka Mauri supports the reorua (bilingual) stance spearheaded by Rotorua Lakes Council and is committed to raising the visibility of te reo Māori by encouraging the community to elevate and celebrate te reo.
During Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori, people are encouraged to take advantage of the many opportunities on offer; to hear te reo Māori being spoken, to use te reo Māori, to develop their own understanding, and to contribute to revitalising te reo Māori every week.
Whether you just want to listen or can't help but join in, bring your lunch and your enthusiasm and prepare to be entertained. The event is free and no booking is required.