Cheering for our language

By ILONA HANNE Managing editor

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Kei te pēhea koe?

How are you?

This week is Māori Language Week and I think the Māori Language Commission has chosen a fantastic, relevant theme this year.

The theme is 'kina te reo - behind you all the way', and focuses on using te reo Māori to support people, to inspire.

So when your child comes home with a great report this week, don't just say well done but say he tino pai tō mahi (your work is great).

When you are watching your team give it their all on the sports field this weekend, shout out kia kaha e hoa mā! (let's go team).

I am the first to admit my Māori language skills aren't as great as I would like them to be. I only came to New Zealand in my adult years so didn't benefit from learning it in school, unlike my children who have heard Māori spoken around them since they started preschool or daycare.

I love the fact the children in our community are exposed to Māori language and culture from an early age - did you see our photos last week from the Top Kids Stratford puanga celebrations? Top Kids Stratford are just one of the many schools or kindys to have celebrated Matariki with their tamariki.

Well done every teacher who has put time and effort into ensuring the Māori language and culture is part of their teaching.

My own children are loving the fact they are part of their school's kapa haka group. They both are probably a case of more enthusiasm than skill, but who cares? They are having fun and learning at the same time. I particularly love the fact that the two of them, with German and English parents, have been so welcomed into the group. It isn't just about the culture you were born with, but the culture you are growing up in.

Learning Māori isn't just for people with Māori heritage. It is a language for all New Zealanders and I encourage you all to celebrate Māori Language Week.

Thanks to sponsorship by Paper Plus, Home & Gift Plus and The Māori Language Commission, we have a fantastic colouring in page this week for our tamariki. Bring in your entries to the Stratford Press on Broadway by Friday, July 22 and we will draw out the prizewinners later that day.

Tae noa ki te wā i muri mai

Ilona

- Stratford Press

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