Culture & Heritage

Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori

Te reo Māori is the indigenous language of Aotearoa New Zealand and is one of two official languages.

In 1986 te reo Māori was guaranteed as a taonga (treasure), under the Treaty of Waitangi and was later made an official language of Aotearoa New Zealand in 1987.

New Zealand has celebrated Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori, Māori Language Week, each year since 1975, to commemorate the presentation of the 1972 Māori language petition on September 14 to parliament.

Why a week? Why not a year? Why not a decade? A century?

Because Aotearoa New Zealand is revitalising the Māori language and a part of that is celebration of our success and promoting te reo Māori. Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori is an opportunity for concentrated celebration, promotion, and encouragement. And every minute of every hour of every day is a Māori language minute where we can choose to use te reo, so every time we do, even just a ‘kia ora!’ contributes to revitalisation.

In the past decade the number of te reo Māori speakers in New Zealand has been steadily increasing and the government has set the goal of having one million New Zealanders able to speak basic te reo Māori by 2040.

Here are some common words and phrases that you can try out.

Kia ora – Hello
Nau mai, haere mai – Welcome
Kei te pēhea koe? – How are you?
Tino pai – Really good
Ka kite anō – See you again
Ngā mihi – Acknowledgements
Mā te wā – See you later!

For more information visit the Māori Language Commission's ReoMāori website.