31 Mar 2020

People jump on te reo Māori waka during lockdown

4:07 pm on 31 March 2020
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Photo: RNZ / Rob Dixon

Māori language lecturer at AUT, Hemi Kelly, has created a Facebook group called 'A Māori Phrase A Day', based on a book he released earlier in the year.

"I'm finding I'm able to commit some time to things I haven't been able to commit a lot of time to in my day to day life before this situation so I know a lot of people are out there in the same boat," he told Nine to Noon.

People can jump online, watch a video that explains a phrase that they can implement at home in their daily life.

The videos are great for children, he said.

"I think the best time to learn any language is when you're a child. I learnt te reo Māori as a teenager, young adult, but we understand how wuickly children pick things up and it's the same with languages."

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Around 2600 people started following the page within 2-3 days - there's now over 3000.

"I think it's a sign of the times, we've seen a shift happen over the past couple of years and more and more people are starting to jump on the waka and starting to realise just how easy it is."

Māori is also relevant to daily life, in our place names, people's names, our flora and fauna, Kelly says.

"I think people are seeing that this is really a part of our identity as New Zealanders...and they're starting to embrace that more and more."

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