Being Māori is a superpower and te reo Māori is a super language! In 1972, the 30,000 signature strong Māori language petition was delivered to parliament which asked for active recognition of te reo Māori in Aotearoa. Kaupapa Māori commentators continue to regard this event as the starting point for a significant revitalisation of te reo Māori and it would be remiss of me not to acknowledge the rarity of this kind of action. Nowadays we have online platforms such as change.org to produce petitions and gather e-signatures within minutes. What those rangatira did almost 50 years ago is remarkable and I only hope that they are proud of their successive generations.
In 2021, we are proud to bring you volume 2 of Nukutawhiti. Especially crafted with a special team of contributors to celebrate te wiki o te reo Māori 2021. Although it is heartbreaking to see negative remarks about our super language in social media comment sections, we must not succumb to the desperate actions of those who can’t even comprehend the utter intelligence of the vernacular, the mother tongue, the Māori language. Instead, let us channel the fight and fortitude of the Māori language petition warriors and continue to make forward movement in a positive direction.
I’m often asked if te reo Māori is my first language. Unfortunately it wasn’t. But it will be the first language of my own uri and it will be the last language they will hear me speak. You see, surrounding and held with the principles of te reo Māori is whānau. Te reo Māori wasn’t my first language because it wasn’t the first language of my parents, or even my grandparents. Because of this my whānau wouldn’t allow te reo Māori to surpass another generation of Campbell and Kamariera mokopuna. The decisions that my parents made to send me to Ngā Tikanga Pono Kōhanga Reo and Te Puāwaitanga o te Purapura Pai, taught me the basics that ultimately led me to the greatest school of Māori language learning I have ever known – that of my great Nan’s, Mererina Waiarangi Kamira.
I recently saw a post circulating on Instagram which said, “you can champion te reo Māori without being a champion of te reo Māori”. In a world where status and money talks, nothing will survive the Māori language like speaking it. By virtue of the Māori language petition and attempts at revitalisation before and after, we all have an obligation to champion te reo Māori. Whether that be at the kai table with your own Nanny, at kura reo, in your essays, at the coffee shop, in parliament or at the olympic games. Kia kaha te reo Māori!