How do you pronounce Ngaio?

12:13 pm on 4 July 2016

About 4000 people are expected to take part in a parade through Wellington to launch Māori Language Week today.

Julian Dennison in Hunt for the Wilderpeople

Julian Dennison in Hunt for the Wilderpeople. Photo: Supplied

Sixteen floats are registered to take part in the inaugural parade, organised by the Maori Language Commission, which will travel through the CBD from the train station to Te Papa.

There will be entertainment and activities at Te Papa, and speakers will include actor Julian Dennison from Hunt for the Wilderpeople and sports presenter Jenny-May Clarkson.

The Maori Language Commission said the parade is about celebrating Te Reo in a public place, and they would like to see as many New Zealanders as possible give the language a go.

It is the 41st celebration of Te Reo Māori or Māori Language Week, with this year's theme: ākina te reo - to be encouraging or supportive.

RNZ's Māori Issues correspondent Mihingarangi Forbes is answering listeners' Te Reo Māori questions on Morning Report this week. Watch the first instalment here:

Just 0.6 percent of Pākehā New Zealanders and 3.7 of the general population can hold a conversation in te reo Māori and the overall number of speakers is on the decline.

Prime Minister John Key told Morning Report children should be encouraged to learn two languages but he is not in favour of making te reo Māori compulsory.

He said his understanding of te reo Māori has increased more and he thinks that is true across the population.

"After eight years of being prime minister I can understand more.

"I can follow what is going on, I think, roughly."

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