Te Wiki o te Reo Māori

This week is Te Wiki o te Reo Māori, Maori Language Week. With Bonnie I have been learning te reo at Wananga o Aotearoa this year. Why would I, a non-Māori want to learn this language, and why are we using it today?

For many in our class who are Māori they who want to learn their language as a way into their culture. This is not why I want to learn. A friend of mine writing about this as a Māori began by exploring how God created all through speech. Language is a gift from God. English is a gift which holds my culture. Te Reo Māori is a gift given to the first people in this land which holds their culture. I choose to honour that gift by learning the language.

Te Reo Māori is also the language of the first church in this land, which is also the original Anglian Church, Te Haahi Mihinare. By learning that language I pay homage to that church and to all those who lived out the gospel of peace in this land. I also recognise that Te Pihopatanga is still a significant part of our church today, and Te Reo Māori is still an important language in our church. So important that the canons of our church require all clergy to be able to lead karakia.

Finally by learning Te Reo Māori I am introduced to Tikanga Māori – Māori culture. The helpful thing about this is it allows me to see the world through different eyes. It gives me the opportunity to questions things that I currently take for granted and accept as normal. It allows me to read the bible from a different perspective which gives me a deeper understanding. It invites me to step outside my own culture and open it up to the critique of the Gospel. All this opens me to God’s call to love and to be met by love in a new way. I invite you to join me in this journey.