Organisers of Rotorua's first kura reo pakihi Māori language course say the inaugural event was such a success they now intend to make it an annual event.
Reo Whairawa Ltd hosted the inaugural kura reo pakihi for business professionals at Toi Ohomai's Tangatarua Marae earlier this month.
Led by local Te Arawa man Brook Grant, the workshop was designed to specifically target the business community and was inspired by Grant's background in banking and finance.
"I believe the wider commercial and business sector will become increasingly important for the future wellbeing of commercial and non-commercial areas of iwi and hapū.
"I am a firm believer that for te reo Māori to survive and prosper it must remain relevant to all activities that we as Māori are involved in."
Grant is a business and investment consultant at a local firm in Rotorua and weaves Māori terms into his business documentation while also facilitating business and investment workshops entirely in te reo Māori.
He said kura reo pakihi was borne out of conversations he had over the years with fellow Māori business professionals who wanted to expand the use of te reo Māori in the workplace.
"We had limited registration numbers of 80 people - this filled up by March, with a waiting line.
"We had more than 20 organisations represented including banks, accounting firms, iwi authorities, fund managers and even the Reserve Bank of New Zealand, and attendees from as far north as Whāngarei, all the way down to Christchurch."
The two-day language course was held in a noho marae environment and open to all people and capabilities from beginner to fluent speakers.
Lessons included grammar, comprehension and idioms, sessions on tikanga and a special session on utilising te reo Māori in the workplace.
Te Arawa locals and Māori language experts Anaha Hiini, Mataia Keepa, Makoha Gardiner were alongside Grant with Kahurangi Milne and Rawiri Tapiata helping as well.
"Feedback from attendees was resoundingly positive and there was overwhelming support for kura reo pakihi to become a regular event for at least a 100-person limit."
Things learnt at the kura reo pakihi
Uplift te reo Māori capability of individuals attending
Teach a karakia that attendees could use in the workplace
Teach a basic mihi structure that attendees could use in the workplace