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'

Maori language is an integral part of New Zealand society. In the past education systems frowned on the use of Te Reo and many were punished for speaking Maori in schools. It is important we attempt to do what little we can to try and rectify this and protect an important part of our New Zealand heritage.

Previous and past government's are to afraid to make our language compulsory, why because the Tauiwi of this country will do the bloody haka well they are literally right now because a lot of our Tauiwi have embraced our beautiful culture and that is great to see, examples are 1st fifteen rugby teams, you see and watch these young fellas putting there all in when doing the haka and on the sidelines the support from parents has been awesome and school kapahaka teams have Tauiwi taking part and I see the passion through all when participating in Maori culture. Now we have at least 34 Maori MP's in government they have a huge voice now although not all are aligned with the same parties but with 34 Maori MP's surely must be the catalyst to engage with one another to set up a hui and come together to support a call for Maori been compulsory in all schools. Finally we are now going to learn about our own history of this country and I tell you what this is going to be a huge transformation for our Tauiwi and to our own people as well, when they realise how bad it was between 1840 until present day. This is my why! ! ! !

There are many reasons including I’ve been bought up with te reo and tikanga, I teach te reo and tikanga at a mainstream secondary school, and I have a 7 week year old boy who will grow up knowing his identity.

Whānau My husband is Maori and he has been on his own journey throughout his life with learning te reo Māori. I started learning when my first child was born and am still continuing to learn. We have three amazing tamariki who we are supporting as best we can to understand te ao Māori. I want my children to be confident and comfortable with who they are and I believe connection to culture is a huge part of that. Te reo Māori is a beautiful language and gives so much more than just language I believe learning Māori opens up to a positive culture and perspective.

My grandfather was maori and spoke fluent Te reo he was the only member of our family that spoke Te reo fluently. It meant a lot to him that his grandchildren learned the language. So I’m making an effort to better embrace my whakapapa and for my grandfather.

Kia kaha Te Reo Māori!

We are a tikanga based programme and i love to learn more

I am learning Te Reo alongside the students - love it! !

It’s a opportunity to be more conscious of speaking and listening to te reo by making a Day of it (I need to do it more but it’s good to have a reason! )It’s such a beautiful language and culture and I’m so thankful for my encounters of learning and being around it, especially only been in aotearoa Toru tau!

Te reo Māori is similar to my mother tongue, Māori Kūki ‘Āirani. . . mou te reo, tuatua te reo, reo manea, reo na matou tupuna.

My why - āku Tamariki. natemea ko tēnei tōku Reo Rangatira, he taonga tuku iho 🙏🏽

Because it’s cool to kōrero!

This is our first year in learning Te Reo and we want to take it next level!

Kia pakari tōku nei reo - kia whakaora anō te reo kei rō whare

It's a key part of our nz culture and history and as a teacher I need to lead our next generation as best I can by using it and getting children interested and involved

I think it’s important to keep our culture alive and nourished. I want a generation where all people are encouraged to learn Reo. I grew up in a time where if you didn’t look Māori you weren’t and I had to prove my right to learn alongside my Māori peers.

To keep our language alive. To normalize it for my babies

There is a huge need in our schools to provide opportunities to learn te reo Māori. We don't have enough confident speakers of reo Māori. We work with schools to provide these opportunities online. Te reo Māori and Kapa Haka are our most popular classes https://vlnprimary. school. nz/maori-classes/ We want to raise the profile of learning online and get support for more schools to access our expertise and grow their confidence and capability in te reo me tikanga Māori.

I am a recent immigrant to NZ from the US. I am so happy to live in a country that is taking action towards delivering better outcomes for the indigenous population, and to normalize bi-cultural society. I want to make sure that my son grows up not knowing that there is any other way.

As a New Zealander, I am very proud of te reo Maaori, and I want to learn it.

I am currently a Tauira with Te Wanaga o Aotearoa so am encouraged to use Te Reo in all my situations

I live in Australia. When I hear people speaking in te reo or I see a Taonga around someones neck I feel at home. I want people to know who I am and where I'm from. I'm going to use Maori words proudly everyday and encourage my friends to use them too.

I get too whakamā at work, in class and even greeting people on my morning walks. I don't need to be a reo master, I just want to feel comfortable enough in the reo and around other people to speak it. Ko te reo te taikura ō te whakaaro marama!

I have a natural attraction to tangata whenua and their ways of being. It's been like that all my life. The knowledge, thoughtfulness, generosity and wairua deeply draws me in and I can't help but have a burning desire to uphold and preserve the language and heritage of Maori. They share a connectedness that my ethnicity will never know. Hence my passion and commitment to keeping all things Maori alive, acknowledged, respected, honoured and celebrated. There is much to learn still but I will be 1 in a million and 20 years from now I'll be 1 more speaker 💕

Being an aspiring student in languages documentation, and with my partner being an essential worker in application to transfer to Aotearoa, I began researching the inspiring background of te reo Maori. The more I have learnt about it, -either in terms of its history or morphology, - the more I have realised this culture-bound language both anchors the country’s roots, and ensures its development towards a culturally representative future. It will be an honour to support this movement, however far away I may be in the world. At the end of the day it is our heritage that defines us and makes us who we are. Every single person has a right for theirs to be duly voiced and appreciated.

We should know who we are, what New Zealand is made of. . . its history and mana. I would like to take every opprtunity to push me to learn about Maori and its Te Reo.

I want to see Maori language rise and thrive in Aotearoa!

Whanau, whanau whanau ma Te katoa

I am maori and I want to learn te reo.

Because language is one of the cornerstones of culture - because learning languages gives your mind another set of images to create pictures with - because sharing a language gives its' speakers a sense of, and a way to share Manaakitanga.

He aha ai? Nā te tino hiakai o āku ākonga ki te ako i te reo me ōna tikanga te take. Ka noho Te Puna Wairua kei waenganui i te kura ō Tāmaki Primary he kura Auraki, kua kitea i ngā pouako i ngā hua o te reo Rangatiratanga me ōna tikanga kei roto i ēnei ākonga ahakoa kātahi anō i tīmata rātou ki te ako. kei te mōhio ngā ākonga inaianei ko wai rātou, nō hea rātou, he aha ou rātou hiahia.

I'm taking part because Te reo Maori is a beautiful language that is unique and special to Aotearoa, and I think new immigrants should learn some korero as well as all nz citizens. I'm learning later in life and while I wish I had learnt earlier, but better late then never. Karawhuia!

I would love to see te reo become compulsory in schools!

Te reo Māori is our national language, we need to keep it alive and well, I love the way the language is used in kōrero, and want to understand more of what I hear, and pass on to my mokopuna.

At our building in Molesworth Street we have He Tohu a permanent exhibition of the iconic constitutional documents that shape Aotearoa New Zealand. 1835 He Whakaputanga o te Rangatiratanga o Nu Tireni — Declaration of Independence of the United Tribes of New Zealand 1840 Te Tiriti o Waitangi – Treaty of Waitangi and 1893 Women’s Suffrage Petition – Te Petihana Whakamana Pōti Wahine. These documents continue to inspire the use and understanding of Te Reo Māori.

That includes te ao Māori - and, of course, te reo Māori!

Our learning from our atua. So we can again appreciate our whakapapa again. Let people know it's ok to learn it, don't be afraid of what others will say. We are all learning te reo Maori that was once silenced but not anymore, that is why I want to continue to support my culture.

For me, it is about the past, the present and the future. Connection, whakapapa. Knowledge of te reo and tikanga. Opportunities for my tamariki.

Languages are the blood of a country - they tell us the story and also give us a peculiar worldview - if we lose a language is like losing special glasses to look at the world in a different way. We forget where we are and where we come from. I am not born in NZ and treasure my languge of where I am from (Italian and French) because they tell my story, who I am, in the same way I believe learning te reo brings us back to the 'source' of the NZ spirit.

Maori are te Tangata Whenua o Aotearoa as per Te Tiriti o Waitangi. I personally believe the success of all our future generations lies in our honestly embracing this truth, and as a citizen whose privilege it is to be born here and will one day die here, I can support this truth and our future generations with positive, informed action now. Learning Te Reo with 'The One Million' is a very good start. People marching in solidarity is a very recognisable part of our history, and this will be the biggest march I have ever been a part of. That is my why.

My children are proud to be Kuki and Maori. They love their culture, language and heritage, especially performing on stage. My 'why' is my tamariki. Although I am not of Maori descent I too love their culture and have learned te reo from a young in an informal setting. I now teach te reo but have a long journey ahead with my level of reo and I love that I can share this journey with my whanau. 3/4 of our tamariki are over 16 and we have 1 mokopuna but our baby is 5 and is at Te Wharekura o Arowhenua. He is so happy and is learning so much. My 'why' is my tamariki. My tamariki are my heart.

I come from a generation when "speaking Maori" was actively discouraged.

In the past, educators actively suppressed Māori culture and language in the classroom, so now I believe it is our job to right the wrongs of past educators.

I want to be a part of the change. The status quo is not ok

As a New Zealander, I feel really connected to te reo, even though I am NZ Pakeha and do not speak te reo. It is in our place names, our work, our daily lives and our culture. Kia kaha te reo māori!

Te Reo Māori is part of my heritage, if more people do not learn it and retain it, then it will be lost and our future generations will not know what the sound and speaking of Te Reo Māori are like. Most only know it in waiata and haka, but Te Reo Māori is more in-depth and poetical than what waiata and haka can bring.

I want to be more confident and start using reo words as part of my everyday language

 I want the next generation to be proud of their culture and their language.

I didn't always understand what they were saying on the paepae, but loved how my Pa would capture his audience's attention with his korero. Also loved seeing the other koroua dance around mimicking manu. . . I was intrigued and wanted to know why everyone would laugh at certain times. My dad would say he couldn't speak Maori, yet, any and all Maori words I didn't know, if I asked dad what it meant, he always knew. So I learnt, 'confidence and expressing kupu out of your mouth. . . really make a difference on your reo journey. There is so much more to learn from our reo, its opens a door to our Ancestors world view.

It is very important to me as a Maori woman, and not knowing te reo Maori or understanding it, I want to encourage those in my mahi to learn with me. Not only because it's te reo Maori language week, but this is also an opportunity to be able to influence understanding of Tikanga within my work environment. While I have a strong understanding of Tikanga, I don't have te reo. We are a mental health organisation with a high percentage of Maori clients. I want my colleagues to use greetings in te reo everyday so it becomes a normal way to welcome all whom walk in our doors. Nga mihi Charmaine

If we don't do this, who will? The customs, history and waiata all have a part in who we are as a nation. Te reo is only one part of gaining and using the knowledge passed down in history that is unique to Aotearoa.

I am an elderly English immigrant and am learning te reo as a way of showing respect to the tangata whenua, as a way of acknowledging past and present injustices and as a way of learning about the traditional values of te ao maori which can offer so much to contemporary society.

I want to be part of creating the Aotearoa I dream of for our children. Having a population where Te Reo Māori is widely spoken is an important part of that vision.

I was born in Aotearoa so this is a way for me to honour and acknowledge my birth place and people and to celebrate and thank those champions who paved the way so that te reo be taught in our schools.

It is a natural part of the people, land, culture and way of life in Aotearoa/NZ. It is a beautiful, poetic language and I am on a personal, whanau and mahi mission to see it revived. Kia Kaha Te Reo Maori! !

I want rangitane Māori to feel pride and identity through their reo and to know their own beauty and worth, but for that to happen, we all need to value and kōrero te reo Māori

I moved from South Africa to the Far North town of Kaitaia in March of last year, and it has been a special opportunity for me to engage with different whanau in our community. I have been able to engage with and work in kura kaupapa environments and have been blessed by the manaakitanga shared in those spaces. Weekly I participate in Te Ātaarangi classes and it has been one of the best things I've done in the last few years. It's sometimes challenging but is always a joy to see how much I've gained from it. My 'Why' comes down to me wanting to be a good Treaty partner. For me this means participating in events in different cultural contexts; seeking to protect the Māori language as a taonga; and being a partner who is aware of the history of the last 180 years. Hopefully these are things my daughter will grow up to value as well.

To celebrate one of our three official languages in Aotearoa. This also follows on from our work around the New Zealand land wars and history of Aotearoa prior to the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi.

I want to make my small contribution to making te reo flourish and take its rightful place as a unique and important language in Aotearoa.

Learning a little te reo Māori is one way I can do that. Besides, I need to be able to keep up with my mokopuna who are learning so much in kura!

The whakatauki "Taiao ora, Tangata ora" if the natural world is healthy, so too are the people speaks to us and our team at Cucumber as we support the success of NZ Primary Sector. Te Ao Māori is all about people working together and that is captured in our team whakatauki Ehara taku toa e te toa takitahi engari he toa takimano. My strength is not that of an individual but that of the collective.

I work in childcare. At the beginning, I started learning te reo Māori to communicate with our whānau and tamariki. It started building up my interest so I took some lessons and going to take some more. I learned many Māori songs. I am very much excited to take part in it.

Build staff capability. Share and learn together. Have fun!

Just having time and interest to study language and culture becomes part of my world and people around you.

After being disconnected from my my Māori whakapapa for so long, everyday I am trying to learn more about te Ao Māori and to kōrero as often as possible and to be more comfortable and confident in my Māori identity.

He Māori ahau. I tipu ake au i roto i te reo English. Nā wai te hē? Nā wai te whakatikatika? Ko te reo Māori tōku rongoā. Ko Tihi Puanaki tōku hoa pūmau.

As a kid in Scotland in the late 70s and early 80s, I was unable to learn my country's language or history - only English. As I got older, especially when I came to NZ, I felt so disconnected from my land and people. I am determined to be part of the solution so Māori people don't have to go through what I did. And it adds value to all of us as New Zealanders.

Te Reo is the indigenous language of Aotearoa. That is why we all should be speaking it. As New Zealanders, we have a responsibility to learn Te Reo. No where else in the world speaks Te Reo. It makes us unique and sets us aside from the rest of the world. We should celebrate that!

I am a kiwi, I was born and bred here in Aotearoa. I am not of Māori descent, however as a member of this community I consider it a privilege to learn the language of this land. I am a Cook Islander, if I went to the Cooks and people were speaking English instead of our native tongue our culture would die, and it is at risk now. I love the privilege of being tauiwi to this land, and believe that I can play my part by learning the language of this land and encouraging all NZers to participate. We will learn French and German in schools but not Māori? C'mon kiwis lesssgoooo, the haka is not enough - it envokes pride in us all, I believe the language will too.

I feel it is important to learn and to understand our language and our culture because as New Zealanders it is a part of who we are and what underpins our identity.

Aotearoa has been the land of the Māori people for over 700 years. I believe it is my responsibility to acknowledge and respect that. My whānau have been "Kiwis" for four generations before me and it is past time to embrace a "kiwi" culture. "Kiwi culture" for me has to involve the speaking of Te Reo and the practising of the culture (ahurea) that has been part of this land (whenua) for centuries - guardianship of our land (kaitiaki) and caring for each other (manaaki) - cornerstones of a beautiful culture that places people (tangata) at the center. For me personally, Māori culture connects to me at a deep level, it simply feels correct, relevant and true. I encourage everyone to embrace it with an open heart and connect as one people with the tradition of this land that we all call home. My dream is for a country of diverse peoples who enjoy their own historical culture, but all share the historical culture of Aotearoa. As citizens of this land it is only proper that we embrace and reflect the first culture of it. Kia tapatahi, kia kotahi rā.

At Te kura o Mangatangi we are working hard to normalise our precious taonga, Te Reo Maaori, in our classrooms.