Te pae kōrero | Our why

There are many things that define New Zealanders and connect us to our home: and te reo Māori is one of them.

Everyone has their own reasons for wanting to learn te reo and see it become normalised and spoken nationwide. Explore them below and share your favourites to inspire others to get involved.

Add your 'why'

I want to be able to learn te reo and share what I learn with others

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We were proud to learn this new waiata as a kura especially for te wā tuku reo Māori. We love the message with the kupu about the importance te reo Māori. This is something that we treasure all year round, not just for te wiki o te reo Māori - He taonga te reo Māori. We will continue to strive to further our journey as a kura to learn te reo Māori.

The last time I heard te reo Maori fluently was from my Papa. I was 5 years old when he passed away. He was my only connection to the old world, to the world of te reo. I am now fifty years old and I have a dream to speak fluent te reo Maori. My Papa only spoke te reo, I never heard him speak English. I only every heard him speak te reo Maori, that sound has alway stayed with me inside. It is time. Oh how I wish I had my papa to korero with. I have a mokopuna now and I want to be able to korero with my moko in te reo, fluently. This is my why.

My why is my children, both Maori. My next why will be my future moko and the generations to come. I embrace te ao Maori and my ongoing studies of Tikanga at length. Now it’s time my voice is heard, as a non Maori supporter of all those doing the big fight. I don’t have position, power or the words to change opinions or challenge government. But I am one more person behind this movement. Aotearoa is my home, and by God I’ll fight for her and her people.

Being maori is in my heart, I want a greater connectedness to my culture, and to my people. I feel I will only achieve this through reo.

Toitū Te Tiriti. I have always wanted to learn Te Reo as part of honouring Te Tiriti and being able to work in partnership with Māori.

Kia ora i have done many studies in Maori and still can't speak fluently or confidently wanting to do some more learning and practice my te reo

I want to connect with my iwi and my Marae I want to learn Te reo to have a better understanding of my heritage.

To know my countries language, to support, to grow, to educate myself and my whanau

My Māori friends and family have suffered immensely from discrimination, both personally and at the hands of the compounding effects of colonial violence and intergenerational wealth. I will learn Te Rēo in defiance of the recent 2024 National, ACT and NZ First coalition policies that seek to erase it, and push Māori people further into the margins of society in Aotearoa. I will learn Te Rēo to enrich my mind, art, and my connection to my Māori comrades in this beautiful country.

Better understand the culture

To help strengthen my knowledge in Te Reo Māori so I can share our beautiful language with others.

As a proud kiwi. I think it is very important for us all the learn about and celebrate Māori history, language and culture Tina

To better understand this wonderful culture!

Mo tāku tamāhine

I'm new to the country, having just moved over from the UK with my wife (NZ citizen). The culture is a big part of what attracted me to NZ in the first place (alongside my wife, of course! ), and the country's maori heritage is something that I believe is important to pay respect to. In order to do this, I need to find out about it, so that I can understand it and advance myself by showing a commitment to the culture of Aotearoa, its legacy and people.

My husband, children and grandchildren are Māori, for me personally it's about being able to extend the little reo I have and to hopefully in time korero Māori with them at some level, and a huge thing for me is not to be afraid to use what I do know.

I want to be able to kōrero with my pāpā. I want to be able to teach my moko.

I have lived in Aotearoa now for 13 years and am an educator. I have completed study in Te Reo in the past and teach basic te reo and tikanga at school. I would like to be more confident in using and responding to te reo maori.

I'm finally being brave enough to start my reo journey, after so many years of procrastinating about it! Now is the time to do better and be better, not only for myself but for my whānau, my akonga & for our future generations.

I'm not from New Zealand, I've only been living here for four years, but I've fallen in love with the Māori culture, especially as it reminds me of my country and makes me feel less alone. I want to learn the language not only because I find it beautiful but because I learned English when I got to New Zealand because is the primary spoken language however Māori seems just as important as I'm a firm believer that the indigenous culture must be prevalent in the community. In my country we lost our indigenous language, it isn't spoken anymore, and that breaks my heart as I wish I could be part of it since my great grandmother is indigenous and so is most of my family.

I want to learn te reo so I can speak and write more than a word and teach my mokopuna from a young age to hopefully inspire them to continue a te reo maori journey

Kia Ora whaanau. I'm at my next part of my journey now. Last 6mths I've been on a Mauri Wahine Mauri Taane Wanaga via TAWK (Te Ahi Wairua o Kaikoura) whanaau mahi. The cover alot that has been beneficial for my Hinengaro/Wellbeing in finding my way. I want to do my next step which is learn my Reo. My 3 youngest are achieving so much via Te Reo Maori via school, it's my turn. My friend group are mostly Reo Maori speakers an I want to learn. Being brought up the colonized way by my grandparents, an catholic schools, no support at home back then. I'm eager now, knowing where my children are.

As a kaiako, I feel its important to be a role model for my students, to continue to learn no matter what your age. Our reo is part of who we are as a culture and a nation.

To be a better educator and to understand the Te Reo around me

Kei te pirangi au ki te ako i te maori mo aku tamariki me aku mokopuna

Simply because it's a privilege to call Aotearoa home.

To increase my understanding of tikanga and my te reo Māori competency.

I was blessed to have a fabulous uncle, Selwyn Wilson (Ngāti Manu, Ngāti Hine), who taught my sister and I te reo, as well as incredible teachers in primary school in the 1970s who also taught us (thank you Mrs Hunia & Mrs Deuss). Uncle often spoke about being whipped at school for speaking in te reo and, although I was horrified by this, as a child I had no idea how privileged I was to live in a time when te reo Maori was once again being taught, and to know fluent speakers who were willing to share their reo with me. Over time my reo has faded (as Ngāti Pakeha it can be challenging to build it into every day life) but I want to honour the love they all gave me and try to help keep this precious taonga going for generations to come. With our 3 children having studied te reo and my husband having managed to get his diploma in te reo Māori it's time to put my money where my mouth is and make it a priority.

Kia Ora, I grew up in NZ but currently living in a tiny island off the coast of France. I have no connections to Aotearoa here, but I intend to return home when my children are grown. My whanau are in Aotearoa and I NEED to return. I’m currently learning Swahili, as I have a group of African friends here, and I have noticed so many similarities to the Maori language. Like the vowel sounds, for instance. I know the basics we were taught at school, like colours, numbers, songs etc but I would love to be able to come home and be able to speak our native language with pride.

I am a migrant worker in New Zealand, I appreciate and respect the culture and language of the land. Therefore, I want to learn Maori language to get along with the Maori people and understand more about Maori culture.

I want to learn this language as my partner and his family are all Maori.

Hi! I love to learn the Māori culture, language and their life philosophy. I don't know why but I've been feeling closely connected to them since the very first encounter.

Born n bred in Australia, met up with other young Maori, we all in the same boat, all wanting to learn

Ko te reo te mauri o the mana Māori!

My inspiration to learn te reo Maori was my pakeha grandfather Norman Harry Capper-Starr who was a fluent reo Maori speaker. His mastery of the reo allowed me to think it might be possible for me to become fluent one day too.

Tōku reo, tōku ohooho, Tōku reo, tōku māpihi maurea, Tōku reo, tōku whakakai mārihi.

I want my kids to grow up knowing reo Māori as normal, not begrudging the culture that is intrinsically woven alongside our own history. There is no "us and them". It is simply people at the heart of life decisions. That means every decision from protecting the land to revitalising language is about people. To honour those that came before, and for the future of those that will come after. Normalising hearing and speaking reo Māori is how we can contribute towards this - ordinary people taking small steps daily.

What is drawing me towards te reo is the tie to our ancestors. I feel the urge to embrace this language as a direct link to our tupuna, a sacred pathway to our roots.

Because it’s important to build my understanding of Māori culture, through the lens of Te Ao Māori and the tongue of te reo Māori.

Im doing this for my whānau and especially my mokopuna. I'm doing this to grow and maintain healthy community connections.

I want to be able to korero in te reo Māori and feel a greater connection to the whenua

All my life I have struggled with my identity. It was either not being Māori enough or being too Māori. Having grown up and spent most of my life in Australia, I never felt deserving of my identity as Māori especially because I could not speak Reo and did not have any understanding of our culture and beliefs but two months ago I took part in a kaupapa that I will forever cherish. I was blessed with my Moko Kauae. It was an exhausting process getting to the table having been dealt with a lot of judgement for my decision but it was my hapū that helped me through the process. By partaking the kaupapa from the pure to the final karakia, I was able to contradict all the mopinions about the kauae and once again restore it's true meaning in my hapu as a taonga and not something that is earn by how fluent you are or how old you are. Being blessed with the kauae at the beginning of my Te Ao Māori journey, has given me the mana to continue with my journey and push forward with my learning. I love being Māori, it is me and I am it!

I'm Maori, never been around the reo so want to learn more. I know lots of words and small phrases, but i need to learn how to converse and become more comfortable using it.

Aotearoa is a beautiful place because of Te Ao Māori and I want to learn more and be as good a Tiriti partner as I can

The opportunity to learn all I can will strengthen my foundation as an individual and in turn help me to help my family strengthen theirs. I look forward to not only learning about myself but also other people’s stories and their journeys. The journey is not only about me or my family but about all of us in Aotearoa.

To help grow appreciation for te reo and spread its use within Aotearoa

Maori is a beautiful language of the indigenous people in this country and we have a duty to preserve the culture and language of those who came before we came here. We cannot allow this to be taken away and it’s important to me because of that. The Maori culture and language are unique and special!

I have been living in Switzerland for the last 8 years, in that time I have struggled to learn the Swiss German language, however am getting there. Living in a Country as a non native speaker, has opened my eyes to how important ones mother tongue is. The more I learn Swiss German the more I understand the culture, the more I understand the differences, the more I am able to integrate, in my small village, . Why then do you say I would want to learn Maori? As an English immigrant, . . . 1973. . . and as we are coming back to live permanently in NZ either next year or in 2025, I want to embrace the whole of NZ not just the British Colonial side, to gain an insight as to who we are as NZers. I am also desperately wanting to call NZ home again, which after covid and how Expats where treated, is a difficult emotional journey, and just maybe learning te reo, will help to heal the wounds and give me a sense of identity.

Te Reo Maori is part of who I am. I will do my best to stop those in Government who want to wipe out Te Reo Maori. Our language is unique to Aotearoa.

MY "WHY" is for my "CHILDREN" and "MOKOPUNA". So they will never forget "WHO" they are And "WHERE" they come from! ! ! ! !

I am 34 years old, been a lost soul that whole time. The more i dive in Te Ao Maori the more i heal and start to grow and understand who i am! The most important part is im learning at the same time as my children, something i hope will carry on when i am gone. Credit to my beautiful wife who has been relentless in this waka

For my whānau

Ka waiata tahi ahau rātou ko te roopu Te Kākano - te puna reorua kei Onepoto nā Te Whānau Tupu Ngātahi o Aotearoa.

Our team has been opening and closing our hui with the Switched On karakia!

My workplace will be celebrating all week we have, activities, waita, shared kai, Reo phrases.

I struggled with my identity for years. I never knew my Whakapapa. I never learned the history of my ancestors. Learnt very little Te Reo. I never embraced my Maori because I was uneducated. Always being judged as Maori is a daily occurrence. I signed up for “Papa Tikanga” through Te Wananga O Aotearoa. This is when my eyes were opened. The last year has been empowering for me. I see things more clearly now & have a better understanding of my culture. I’m embracing my identity & passionate to learn more. I want my tamariki to be proud of who they are & feel excepted in society as Maori. I am Maori & proud. ❤️🤍🖤

My sons are maori and I want to encourage them to learn so it will be passed down to my mokos. I truly believe that somewhere I have my maoriHeritage. Because I am always deeply moved emotionally when I hear Waiata, watch kapa haka or be around my extended whanau.

Language holds the stories of our cultures. It's all our responsibility to make sure they know, used and cherished.

I feel that's been missing in my life

Am married to the most amazing Maori woman and after decades travelling the world, we've come (back for her) to NZ to retire and so I want to learn the native language.

I want to learn te reo maori as we grew up with very little to no maori influence and now that im grown up I feel like I have something missing.

I grew up in the 50s, my grandmother referred to my maori neighbours as darkies as my older sister still does. . as I grew i noticed many maori youth were targetted by police or abused by other ignorant peoples for being 'brown'. As i was a slightly rebellious girl of scots /irish ancestry i spent time mixing with these 'brown darkies', and ended up married to one. His parents were beaten for speaking te reo so therefore he was a 'lost' soul trying to fit in both worlds. Today, one of my mokopuna is a kaiako at her local kura kaupapa, she stands tall, she stands proud to be maaori. . my others are also standing tall and will contribute much to Aotearoa

Ko Taane Karena tāku īngoa I've been biting at the bit to learn te reo Māori for some time and I'm finally in the position and head space to take on the challenge and reconnect with our people through our kaupapa. Te reo was fluently used around us as tamariki but was never influenced once we grew up and found a career, now I want to learn again and be influential as my tamariki are doing so well in kapahaka. Nga mihi

I am so proud to be Kiwi and have the opportunity to encourage Te Reo to be an integral part of my learning more about the culture.

I came to Aotearoa almost ten years ago to pursue a PhD thesis that became “Whāine: an annotated anthology of Aotearoa New Zealand women poets in Italian translation”. I remember first studying te reo out of an old publication back in Italy, as I was working on my Masters on the bone people by Keri Hulme. Te reo Māori is a way into te ao Māori as language shapes our perception of the world. The world is richer with te reo in it and it is a privilege to learn a culture through its language. We also have a debt to te reo Māori, we need to foster it for all that was done against it and the culture it weaves and sustains. I will do everything I can to play my part, one little act of resistance at a time! Arohatia te reo! ! !

On 1st December 2023, over 1, 500+ tamarki from 17 schools from Ōtaki to Paekākāriki performed at Ngā Purapura. They performed their little hearts out, I dare who ever to tell these young babies, that kapa haka and learning te reo māori is a waste of time. We are proud to be producing bi-lingual communities on the Kāpiti coast!

My working project is, to help revive Maori Traditions. My project NEEDS a living language (compulsory for all immigrants and ultimately every resident of New Zealand) My project is to write a book of the importance of Maori Culture for all of us on this planet. It is a privilege to live in a country, where the only still existing and legally protected indigenous culture in the world is reviving. We all need this revival and should encourage and support (any indigenous culture as well as and foremost) Maori Culture. Already there is a ripple effect going out to other colonized and suppressed indigenous people in Australia, South-America, Canada and de USA and who knows where. It got me, immigrant from a well-off Farmers family in well-off Netherlands (Holland). I don't want to leave this planet before leaving behind my story THE STORY is about: A magical cultural encounter in 1643 comparing this with today’s multi cultural society of Aotearoa, I try to show the loss of valuable cultural habits, the disconnection between us as people and our environment, that has slowly created a feeling of hopelessness and chaos, a lack of identity. Recognizing and describing traditional Maori culture and society structure as one of the few surviving alternatives to a mono-(Western)culture in the rest of the world, I try to emphasize the positives of this available alternative here in New Zealand. By linking original Maori values and customs, as preserved through Hine, portraying her as my ancestor and then myself, AS “NEW” IMMIGRANT AND descendant of this Maori woman, returning to today’s New Zealand, I try to create a dialogue between these different cultures, these different worldviews, aiming to strengthen our society, while at the same time giving it more pride in it’s own identity. New Zealand can be leading the world by practicing a different way of life. I will add and combine values from people from all over the world, trying to make Aotearoa their new home. Leaving behind the mistakes that were made in their own countries. By adding positive value to existing Maori culture. As an experienced (and now retired) Mental Health Nurse I have gathered enough prove from the past encounters as well as from current encounters with people from all over the world. My own experience as immigrant, leaving behind a “certain” lifestyle and restarting from scratch in an (alien) world I had to overcome self-doubt, that comes with this immigration. I worked in big cities, in rural communities, on mareas, in forensic clinics and everywhere I encountered other people that worked on the sharp edge of the society (Police, Social Welfare staff, prison wardens, Teachers, Philosofers). I spent lots of time with artists, musicians as well as politicians and spoke about my encounters with “my dear people”, people caught in a downward spiral of despair and poverty (to such an extent, that they gave up on themselves). Having to give them hope in a world in which the society, (politicians and “the system”) does nothing, but making it worse, with bureaucracy and indifference. Cutting funds, that were promised and making one feel guilty for being such a “burden” to the society, while themselves not being able to last for more then one week in their shoes. The contrast between the 20% of the world that has more than it needs and the 80% that doesn’t know if there is any food or roof tonight, that has to worry about prosecution and violent conflict, only because they were born with the wrong religion, or in the wrong place, on top of essential minerals and resources to feed the profit-hunger of the top 20%. In New Zealand the history around the Declaration of Independence (1835) and the Signing of the Treaty (of Waitangi, 1840) is followed by breaches of trust and equal relationship, a slow but sure erosion of Maori culture. In my story I will use these grievances and failures as background to highlight the fundamental “wrongs” of Treaty Settlements, that does not address the core problems. I spoke with people that have researched the infamous Land-wars of the mid 1800’s. Up till today there has been no restorative justice and ongoing disputes are the consequence. While I will be telling a story of –re-discovery of lost values, I will highlight different ways and possibilities to address historical grief and hope that it shows the opportunity to create a stronger, more just society, based on these values, but also based on the experiences of the “new-comers”, immigrants from all over the world, that would try to avoid making the same mistakes as the ones that made them leave their homeland to try and create a better and brighter future here in Aotearoa. With this story I urge all non-Maori immigrants to reflect on our own lifestyle and see if there is a way to create a better future, avoiding the mistakes already made by their own ancestors. We have enough knowledge gathered over the last decennia. We CAN learn from the past and do not have to make the same mistakes over and over again. Bringing together all the positives will help to make a more fair society that can be in harmony with the surrounding natural world. We all have a deep en-rooted memory of our ancestors stored in our genes. We need a strong self-belief, which can come through our connection with the past. Our soul, our IHI will guide us and gives us the strength, the insight and the courage to follow the path that will bring us all back together. In the story I also try to (re-)kindle the still existing awareness of IHI in Maori, who have been given traditions and knowledge through their whakapapa. Too many are caught up in the high speed society around them, slowly loosing this ancient knowledge. Yes, Maori traditions are being re-visited and at times re-instated, given a place in NZ history, but all too often it appears to be tokenism. Nice for the tourists and good to “make money”, good for business. Instead of chasing this carrot and trying to get a bigger slice of the cake, Maori need to show themselves and others the importance of their traditions and values. Values and traditions, that have been passed on through whakapapa for a good reason. As earlier, elsewhere in the world, greed, colonization and loss of faith have eroded these values, and with it, our society. The values of American-Indian Chiefs like Sitting Bull, Hindu like Mahatma Ghandi, Bantu like Steve Biko, Prophets like Jesus Christ and Mohammad and many many more have been verbalizing and preaching the importance of these values that make us HUMAN. Speaking up against the (instinctive and fear driven) greed and violence, which has only lead to destruction and loss. to be continued. . . . . let me know what you think of the idea and if you want to help getting this story out in the world (Chapter ONE is almost finished) Or if you think I should not continue without first doing the following : . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

I've returned to Aotearoa after living in Australia for 20 years and I'm amazed at how Te Reo Maori is being so widely embraced. I'm 57 and have grown up largely ignorant of this beautiful language and culture that's right on my doorstep, yet I understand so little of it. We are one nation and I have as much responsibility to understand the Tangata Whenua as I have expected of them. I'm very new to the language, but I'm loving the journey.