Whānau-based law firm issues challenge to legal sector for Māori Language week

5 September

Māori Language Week will be held on 11 – 17 of September 2017. The theme chosen by Te Taura Whiri o Te Reo Māori (The Māori Language Commission) is “Kia ora Te Reo Māori”. It was chosen to celebrate New Zealand’s greeting of “Kia Ora” which means hello, but also because the words ‘kia ora te reo Māori’ literally mean ‘let the Māori language live’.

"To support Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori, we thought the legal community could do our bit to ‘let the Māori language live” by making a few small changes each day of the week," says Kaupare Law Ltd, director Alana Thomas.  

The firm has the following suggestions on how to incorporate the Māori language into each work day.

Monday: Change your email signatures and how you start your correspondence by including the following words/phrases: “Tēnā koe” (a formal way to say hello) or “Kia ora” (an informal way to say hello). Sign off your emails with “Nāku noa (and your name)” which means “Yours sincerely” or a less formal goodbye could be “Ka kite anō” meaning “See you again”.

Tuesday: Greet everyone you meet today in Te Reo Māori. As mentioned above, a simple “Kia ora” or “Tēnā Koe” can be used to say hello. Or “E pēhea ana koe?” to ask someone how they are. If someone asks how you are, you can say, “E pai ana ahau” which means “I am good”. If you aren’t feeling very good on that day, have a look at the online Māori dictionary to find some words that reflect how you are feeling. Simply replace the word “pai” in that sentence.  

Wednesday: Research your local area. What are the Māori place names for your city or town? Who are the local iwi or hapū? If you don’t know someone that could help you out with this information, take a look at the government’s website, Te Kāhui Māngai, which acts as a directory of iwi and Māori organisations.

Thursday: Implement Te Reo Māori kupu or phrases into your work. In 2013, Mamari Stephens and the team at Victoria University made it easy for us to find the Māori words for legal terms by releasing their book, He Papakupu Reo Ture: A dictionary of Māori Legal Terms which has now also been made available online.  Either buy a copy of the book or save the page onto your computer so you can try out some Māori words in the work you are doing.

Friday: Why not make Te Reo Māori a permanent part of your life? With the vast amount of learning resources now available online and different Te Reo classes held through Aotearoa, there really is no excuse for those that want to learn Te Reo Māori. Check out the following links here and here and here, then give it go.

Kei wareware tātou, these changes don’t have to be for this week only.

“Try and keep this going in all the work that you do to support the revitalisation of Te Reo Māori and see first-hand the benefits and positive impact that Te Reo Māori will have to your day! By making these small changes to our office, to our systems of communications and to the services we provide, the legal community can ensure that Te Reo Māori has ‘ora’ – life, health and vitality – which is what we convey every time we say ‘kia ora’,” says Alana Thomas.

For more information on Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori and events that are occurring during the week.