18 Feb 2015

Te Reo stance wins plaudits

12:05 pm on 18 February 2015

Hundreds of people including fellow broadcaster Alison Mau have supported 3News weather presenter Kanoa Lloyd, who has revealed she has been criticised by viewers for her use on air of Maori language.

Ms Lloyd has attracted a stream of support on social media after Te Manu Korihi highlighted that she had drawn criticism from some viewers for peppering some of her reports with Te Reo.

The broadcaster had taken to Twitter to talk about the resistance to Te Reo Māori, saying it was a weird part of her job to get weekly complaints about her using Māori words in the weather report.

Kanoa Lloyd, who started working for the channel five months ago, said she was surprised by the backlash to her using the language.

Radio and television presenter Alison Mau expressed support on Twitter urging Ms Lloyd to "ignore the moaners" and hundreds of others including comedian Ben Hurley joined the debate.

Kanoa Lloyd said there seemed to be a range of issues among some viewers.

"I think some people are also a bit challenged by the fact that I sometimes I refer to the North and South islands by their Māori names; Te Ika-ā-Māui and Te Waipounamu, and I say 'Kia Ora'. I try to use kupu [words] in that format as much as I possibly can."

3 News was pledging to continue using Te Reo in its broadcasts and Ms Lloyd said the broadcaster was supportive of keeping Te Reo alive.

"We're not going to stop speaking Māori and if people are challenged by it we just encourage them to keep watching so they can understand a bit more and not find it a negative thing."

Te Reo campaigner and broadcaster Pat Spellman.

Te Reo campaigner and broadcaster Pat Spellman. Photo: SUPPLIED

Broadcaster and Te Reo campaigner Pat Spellman, who hosts the breakfast show radio on iwi station Moana Radio applauded TV3 for its stance and said he fully supports Kanoa Lloyd in her mahi (work)

"Kia kaha e hoa and keep doing what you're doing because you're doing is exactly what I'm attempting to do in Tauranga-Moana," he said.

"There are many other advocates throughout Aotearoa and all over the world that are fighting the same fight."

The 25-year-old said the opposition the weather presenter faced was a stark reminder of how much work needed to be done to promote the preservation of Te Reo Māori.

"What is surprising is the amount of rangatahi that have come to me and said 'man, it's not just [happening] in Tauranga'," he said. "It just goes to show New Zealand has a lot of work to do."

The debate has resurfaced three decades after the 'kia ora' controversy, sparked when a telephone exchange operator spoke in Maori to callers.

Naida Glavish, chair of Ngāti Whātua, was demoted in 1984 because her supervisor insisted she use only formal English greetings instead of kia ora.

Pat Spellman said in the 30 years since that happened, New Zealand had promoted Te Reo Māori as "something special, but not something normal".

He believed the solution lay in making Te Reo compulsory in mainstream schools.

"If I could wave a magic wand and make one change it would be to have a greater emphasis placed on Te Reo Māori in our kura".

The Ministry for Culture of Heritage has published a list it of kupu (words) Māori it says every New Zealander should know.

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