Sept. 28, 2018, 5:29 p.m.
Reflecting on the past while looking to the future staunch Māori language advocate and activist, Hilda Halkyard-Harawira and others put the call out to the five Far North tribes (Ngāti Kurī, Te Aupōuri, Te Rarawa, Ngāi Takoto & Ngāti Kahu) of Te Hiku o Te Ika to come together as a collective for the purpose of establishing a new regional-specific Māori language strategy for Te Hiku o Te Ika.
Supported by the five iwi, Te Wānanga o Te Rangi Āniwaniwa presented Te Hui Tamata Reo o Te Hiku o Te Ika with the call ging out to reo Māori activists of varying levels of reo learners, speakers in multi-interest areas from Kohanga Reo to Kaumātua Kuikuia.
The event was held on the 14th of September to coincide with the first official Māori Language day in 1972 which eventually became Māori Language Week in 1975 due to the efforts of ones like Whāea Hilda.
Hone Harawira expressed particular importance on the children and youth of Te Hiku learning their tribal language.
Harata Brown a former student of Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Te Rangi Āniwaniwa and now a producer for TVNZ refers to the struggles in revitalsing te reo Māori in the past and has returned home for this event to participate in setting the direction for the future of te reo Māori in Te Hiku.
Facilitators for workshops were selected in recognition of the mahi (work) they already do within the communities, their expertise in their area of interest, their proficiency in te reo Māori and their kaupapa driven approaches.
The workshops allowed for open discussions on the areas of interest listed below with a focus on setting a strategy that empowers the people of Te Hiku in their everyday lives:
- Kohanga Reo/ECE/Primary/Intermediate
- Transition/Secondary/Tertiary education,
- Whānau Ora and social services,
- Media & Business,
- Health & environment
Kristin Ross of Ngāti Kahu and co-founder of Pipi Mā the world’s first 100 percent Māori speaking doll also returned to support the kaupapa. Explaining that the purpose of Pipi Mā was to promote te reo Māori Ms Ross was also open to the idea of potentially creating a Pipi Mā that spoke with a dialect of Te Hiku if that was something the people wanted.
Anaru Rieper a reo Māori advocate from Te Aupōuri welcomes the prospect of a unified tribal language strategy for Te Hiku as he believes that there are not many if any major differences between the tribes when it comes to their language.
This collabrative appoach not only increases shared efforts and resources towards this language strategy but will also strengthen the relationships between the iwi of Te Hiku o Te Ika.