Date posted: 11/09/2023

Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori 2023

Kia kaha, kia māia, kia manawanui ki te ako i te reo

Be strong, brave, and stout-hearted to learn the language

Dr Anaha Hiini

In brief

  • A brief history of Māori Language Week.
  • How we’re supporting members learn te reo Māori.
  • Resources for members and businesses.

Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori (Māori Language Week) runs from 11 – 17 September in 2023. With a history spanning nearly half a century, this annual event holds special significance on Aotearoa New Zealand's cultural calendar. It symbolises the commitment to preserving and promoting te reo Māori and culture, creating an opportunity to celebrate and grow together.

A slice of history

Despite colonisation and concerted efforts by governments of the time to eradicate its use (including punishing children for speaking it at school), te reo was widely spoken amongst Māori until the second World War. But the urbanisation that followed the war saw many Māori living away from their whānau and separated from constant exposure to the language, sparking steep decline in te reo.

On 14 September 1972, a group of determined language champions took a petition to parliament, signed by 30,000 people demanding te reo Māori be taught in schools. This became Māori Language Day, and in 1975, the first Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori, or Māori Language Week, was held.

The first of hundreds of Kohanga Reo early childhood centres opened in 1982, followed three years later by Kura Kaupapa Māori (Māori language immersion schools). Then in 1987, under the Māori Language Act, te reo Māori was declared an official language of Aotearoa New Zealand, alongside New Zealand Sign Language. Despite English being the de facto (commonly spoken) language, it is not an official language.

Over the years and decades, more frequent use of te reo Māori began to spread through government, education, and media. Technology and business started catching up. Māori Television launched in 2004, and in 2005, Microsoft introduced te reo Māori versions of Microsoft Office and Windows, and 2013 brought the release of Google Māori.

“Don’t just celebrate the language one week of the year, celebrate it every week of the year.” 
Dr Anaha Hiini Kōtihi Reo Consultants

Te reo at work

CA ANZ encourages members to learn and use te reo Māori. For Aotearoa New Zealand members, Māori Language Week is an occasion to honour the language and culture and to build upon their efforts to upskill in te reo.

The celebration of language is also often the spark for newcomers to begin their journey with te reo Māori. While it can be daunting, anyone interested in using more te reo Māori in their daily lives - including at work – has a wealth of resources available.

CA ANZ has developed a handy downloadable booklet featuring some common business-related rerenga (phrases) and kupu (words) for members to print, fold and share with their teams. From email greetings and sign-offs to a basic personal introduction, the resource will assist you to incorporate a little te reo Māori into your everyday communications. You can also sign up for our regular Te Ao Māori online workshop series.

Along with the personal and professional development that learning a new language brings, demonstrating genuine interest in and enthusiasm for te reo Māori is a powerful way to assist in building relationships with Māori businesses and professionals.

According to a report commissioned by Te Pūtea Matua (The Reserve Bank of New Zealand), Te Ōhanga Māori, the Māori economy was worth $68.7b in 2018 and is on an upward trajectory. As more businesses and enterprises embrace this growing economy, CA ANZ is also supportive of its own employees building their skills and confidence in te reo Māori.

Dr Anaha Hiini, director of Kōtihi Reo Consultants, has worked with CA ANZ since 2018. He and his team have provided Māori language acquisition courses, cultural advisory, Treaty of Waitangi workshops, translations services, and guided many of the senior management team through formal discourse as they have been called upon to deliver speeches in te reo Māori.

Dr Hiini says that learning te reo benefits everyone, and accounting practitioners are no exception.

“One huge aspect is creating strong, positive relationships with iwi partners who seek CA’s services for their trust, their companies, and businesses, whether big or small,” he says.

As with all learning, it is never too late to start - and Dr Hiini points out that the journey never truly ends with the axiom, “When you’re finished learning you’re finished! [Whether someone is a beginner or advanced] there is always more to learn as learning never ends until the day you die.”

“Don’t just celebrate the language one week of the year, celebrate it every week of the year.”

Wondering where to begin? Members can start by exploring the CA ANZ website.

Discover our new te reo Māori resource

A handy downloadable booklet to print fold and share with your team.

Find out more

Sign up to Te Ao Māori CPD

Nau mai, haere mai! Join us for this regular online workshop series run by Tutira Mai.

Find out more

Join our Māori & Pasifka SIG

Based in Te Whanganui-a-Tara Wellington, focused on development and support of Māori and Pasifika in accounting.

Find out more