Libraries are normally places where you try to be a bit hushed.
But yesterday the sounds of Māori waiata bellowed from the Rotorua Library Te Aka Mauri building as more than 20 staff members got together to take part in the Māori Language Moment for Māori Language Week 2020.
The idea of the singalong was to contribute to getting one million people nationwide all speaking, singing and celebrating te reo Māori at the same time.
Given the restrictions of social gatherings under alert level 2, Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori (Māori Language Commission) has come up with alternative ideas to engage New Zealanders in the week recognising our official language.
Commission chairwoman Professor Rawinia Higgins said to safeguard te reo, they wanted one million Māori language speakers by 2040, but they decided to start in 2020 - even if only for a moment.
She said the Māori Language Moment took place yesterday at midday where people registered to take part around the country.
The timing was significant to mark the day and the hour in 1972 when a group of Māori language champions presented a petition on the steps of Parliament calling for te reo to be taught in schools.
Rotorua Library Te Aka Mauri customer experiences lead Kim Heke said there was a mass haka at the Rotorua Lakefront a few years ago as part of Māori Language Week but this year they needed to think of different ideas.
She said the library staff were happy to take part because singing a waiata was something that came naturally for them. They had weekly staff singalongs at their staff meetings and monthly community gatherings where members of the public came along to take part.
During yesterday's waiata, which were performed inside the library entrance, Ramari Rakuraku-Foster was spotted sitting nearby studying.
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She partially removed her headphones and listened while she carried on working on her laptop.
She told the Rotorua Daily Post she went to the library once a week to study for her Māori Business and Management Degree and while she enjoyed the peace and quiet she said there was always something happening at the library.
"The singing is lovely... And there's coffee right next door so it's perfect."
Fellow library user Bryn Harford said he could hear the lovely singing coming from around the corner.
"I thought someone had the radio on. It's just beautiful."
The library will continue celebrating this week. A special Māori Language Week He Pī Ka Rere session of singing, storytelling and crafts for under 5s will be available online on the library's Facebook page tomorrow.
On Thursday, the ground floor of the building will become a theatre of voices as staff and members of the community sing a variety of Māori songs led by the talented singer and guitarist, Clark Pirika.
Waiata Mai runs for approximately 40 minutes form 12.15pm. All words are provided so anyone can join in.
All events are free and open to the general public but numbers will be restricted.