Te Wiki o te Reo Māori (Māori Language Week) is next week, 13-19 September – celebrating 49 years since the petition calling for te reo Māori to be taught in schools was presented to Parliament. One of the ways you can mark this important occasion is to stop what you are doing at midday on Tuesday 14 September to try some reo and take a moment to remember the legacy of those who fought for the survival of this important taonga.

In the words of the Reo Māori Movement in an e-mail to supporters, ‘We know that our own ancestors – Māori and Pākehā – did the same for us all those years ago when they marched to parliament in 1972 with a petition of nearly 30,000 signatures, calling for te reo to be taught in its own country. Thanks to their determination and passion, the revitalisation of te reo Māori is a movement that continues to this day. They had future generations in sight, and so do we.’

For us at TEU, we can’t celebrate Te Wiki o te Reo Māori without also remembering our founding Kaumātua, Dr Huirangi Waikerepuru, who passed away in April last year.

Dr Waikerepuru was instrumental in the Ngā Kaiwhakapūmau i te Reo Māori Movement, leading the case through the privy council that argued Aotearoa New Zealand should recognise and protect te reo Māori as a taonga under Te Tiriti o Waitangi, and he lobbied for the establishment of Te Māngai Pāho, iwi radio stations and Māori Television. It is his legacy we will be thinking about at midday next Tuesday.

Over one million people participated in the Māori Language Moment last year. To register your support, click here.