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Parliament event to honour the Māori language champions, 50 years on

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Willie Jackson announces a commemorative event to celebrate 50 years since the Māori Language petition was delivered to Parliament. Photo / Mark Mitchell

Māori Development Minister Willie Jackson says a commemorative event to mark the 50th anniversary of the presentation of the Māori language petition (Te Petihana) will be held at Parliament.

Jackson says the September 14 public event – two days after the week-long Māori Language week officially kicks off – will recognise the te reo Māori champions behind Te Petihana in 1972, and how their bravery and work ignited the Māori language movement.

“Rangatahi from Ngā Tamatoa, Te Reo Māori Society and Te Huinga Rangatahi, supported by kaumātua, presented over 30,000 signatures calling for te reo Māori to be taught in all schools. This was a pivotal moment in our country’s history and deserves recognition,” Jackson said.

“It may be hard for some people to believe but 50 years ago te reo Māori was in grave danger of dying out.

“There were no kōhanga reo, kura kaupapa, wānanga, Māori media or much Māori used anywhere outside of rural Māori communities. Te Reo Māori wasn’t even an official language.

“We have made great progress to revitalise and embed te reo Māori into our daily lives.

”We have Māori in our schools, and Māori Language Day became Māori Language Week that over a million New Zealanders celebrate each year.

“I hope New Zealanders will join me in honouring our Māori language champions, past and present.”

The national commemoration will be held at Parliament and include formal speeches, live music, free kai and a shared Māori language moment at midday.

It will be live streamed via Whakaata Māori.

Ā te 14 o Mahuru ka tū tētahi hui ā-motu ki te Whare Pāremata e whakanui ana i te huringa o te 50 tau mai i te whakatakotoranga o te petihana reo Māori.

Hei tā te Minita Whanaketanga Māori, hei tā Willie Jackson, kei te whakanui tēnei huihuinga i ngā toa o te reo Māori i whakatakoto i Te Petihana i te tau 1972. Nā tō rātou māia ka whakakāpurahia te ahi o te reo Māori ki te motu whānui.

“Ka tū ake ngā taiohi mai i Ngā Tamatoa, mai i Te Rōpū Reo Māori me Te Huinga Rangatahi, i runga anō i te tautoko o ō rātou kaumātua, ki te whakatakoto i ngā ingoa o te hunga, e 30,000 te nui, e tono ana kia whakaakongia te reo Māori i roto i ngā kura katoa. He kaupapa nui whakaharahara tēnei i te hītori o tēnei motu, me whakanui,” te kī a Willie Jackson.

“Ka kore pea ētahi e whakapono i tēnei rā, heoi, i tērā 50 tau kei te pari o te rua te reo Māori e tū ana.

“Kāore he kōhanga reo, kāore he kura kaupapa Māori, kāore he wānanga, he whare pāpāho Māori rānei. Kāore i tino rangona te reo Māori ki waho atu i ngā hapori iti. Ehara hoki te reo Māori i te reo whai mana i raro i te ture.

“Kua piki ake te nui o ngā kaupapa e whakarauora ana, e whakaū ana i te reo Māori ki roto i ā tātou mahi o ia rā. Kei te whakaakongia te reo Māori i roto i ō tātou kura, kua huri te Rā Reo Māori ki te wiki reo Māori kē, ā, neke atu i te kotahi miriona te nui o ngā tāngata o Aotearoa e whakanui ana i taua kaupapa i ia tau.

“Ko te tūmanako, ka whakaeke mai ngā tāngata o Aotearoa ki te whakahōnore i ō tātou toa o te reo Māori o mua, o nāianei anō” te kī a Willie Jackson.

Ka tū te hui ā-motu ki te Whare Pāremata i te 14 o Mahuru mai i te 11:30am ki te 1:00pm. Ko ngā mahi o te rā ko ngā kōrero ōkawa, ko te mahi puoro, ko te kai utukore, otirā, ka tū tahi te huihuinga katoa i te tūhoetanga o te rā ki te whakanui i te reo Māori. Ka taea e te hunga e noho ana ki wāhi kē ki te mātakitaki i te hui mā tētahi pāhotanga mataora ki Whakaata Māori.



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