Telum Vox Pop: Te Wiki o te Reo Māori 2023
Feature

Telum Vox Pop: Te Wiki o te Reo Māori 2023

By Callum Logie

In recognition of Te Wiki o te Reo Māori, Telum spoke to journalists and writers across Aotearoa about the significance of the week and the progress of integrating te reo Māori in news coverage.

Te Aorewa Rolleston - General Reporter, Waikato Times
Te Wiki o te Reo Māori provides an opportunity to celebrate our past, present, and future as a nation. Our journalism industry in Aotearoa is fortunate to be a part of this kaupapa as we seek to recognise the variety of cultures and communities reflected in our society within the stories we tell.

Over the past two decades especially, there have been immense shifts in the industry to bring te reo Māori and kaupapa Māori conversations to the forefront. Whether it's interviews on the radio, bilingual titles on TV, Māori presenters bearing traditional tāmoko (tattoo), or weather presenters reciting Māori place names. This progress has come off the back of a collective of pioneers who, during their time, may not have known what kind of impact they would have on the next generations of journalists, like myself.
 
There’s so much to value in recognising the indigenous values and language of our country. It is what sets us apart from anywhere else in the world. In the media, we have an important part to play in how we accurately reflect the communities and wider society we live in. Te reo Māori offers a distinct foundation for our stories to flourish from.

So, may our mahi as journalists continue to reflect who we are as a country and our pathway forward into the future.

Amokura Panoho - Freelance Writer / Contributor, BiograView
Whakarongo ki te reo Māori - Listen to the language

Te Wiki o te Reo Māori holds immense importance in Aotearoa's journalism and media landscape, promoting cultural integration, representation, and understanding. It plays a pivotal role in acknowledging and celebrating Māori heritage, fostering inclusivity, and supporting Māori language revitalisation. As te reo Māori gains prominence, journalism in Aotearoa has become more comprehensive and culturally sensitive, benefiting both Māori and non-Māori communities.

This transformation is evident across various media platforms, with journalists demonstrating a greater respect for Māori cultural nuances when reporting on Māori issues, including correct pronunciation of Māori words and place names. This shift is vital for the revival of te reo Māori as it sets the standard for mainstream New Zealanders, making them comfortable and accepting of the language. Radio and television presenters now incorporate Māori phrases and greetings in daily broadcasts, contributing to the normalisation and popularisation of te reo Māori. Māori journalists are also taking the lead in mainstream news segments which further aids in normalising its usage. 

However, there is still more work to be done, and journalists are an essential part of that process of reclamation. 

Kereama Wright - Multimedia Journalist, Whakaata Māori
As the recipient of te reo Māori from my parents who fought to reclaim theirs, Te Wiki o te Reo Māori is close to my heart. It’s close to my heart because it is the result of the lifelong dedication that my aunties and uncles gave to ensuring that te reo Māori was enshrined as an official language of Aotearoa. To me, Te Wiki o te Reo Māori symbolises the struggle and the fight to revive and normalise our language despite the waves of colonisation that all but wiped out our culture, our customs, our traditions, and our reo. 
 
My name is Kereama Wright. I am the product of Kōhanga Reo and Kura Kaupapa Māori. I am now the father of six Māori speaking children who also attend Kōhanga Reo and Kura Kaupapa Māori. I can’t say Te Wiki o te Reo Māori is something that my whānau or kura community celebrate because te reo Māori is already a normal part of our everyday lives. In Rotorua, you will hear te reo Māori on the street, at kids sports, and at various schools as well. But to see our more mainstream communities and the multicultural landscape of New Zealand embrace te reo Māori in such a way each year, is reassuring. 
 
I commend the increased usage of te reo Māori by our mainstream newsreaders. To hear the likes of Mike McRoberts, Oriini Kaipara, Guyon Espiner, and our other industry colleagues using te reo Māori words and sentences so freely tells tamariki like mine, who predominantly speak Māori, that Aotearoa is inclusive of them and their reo. 
 
Is that enough? No. Is Te Wiki o te Reo Māori enough? No. But it’s a platform from which we as a nation can continue growing. Before it became a week-long celebration, Te Wiki o te Reo Māori started off as one day. We now have Mahuru Māori, which encourages a month-long celebration of te reo Māori. 
 
My hope is that we will reach a point where we no longer need to celebrate te reo Māori for one week or one month in the year, but that te reo Māori is once again woven into the natural fabric of Aotearoa, where our tamariki are no longer alienated in their own country. 

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Kereama Wright

Multimedia Journalist

Te Aorewa Rolleston

General Reporter

Amokura Panoho

Freelance Writer / Contributor

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