E tū ana mō te reo Māori - standing up for the Māori language.
That’s one of the key motives behind Waikato Regional Council’s deputy chair Tipa Mahuta, chief executive Vaughan Payne and several other staff members taking a part in the Mahuru Māori challenge this month.
As part of Māori language month, they’ll all be committing to speaking te reo only on one day a week till the end of September. It’s the first time the council’s been formally involved in the event started by the Waikato-headquartered national tertiary education provider Te Wānanga o Aotearoa four years ago.
“This is about showing our individual and collective council tautoko (support) for te reo and tikanga Māori,” said chief executive Vaughan Payne, who has both Pākehā and Māori heritage.
“As a council we work closely with iwi and Māori groups, schools and individuals. We look to use te reo and tikanga where appropriate in those interactions and have pōwhiri for new staff.
“Taking up the Mahuru Māori challenge this year for the first time adds to that commitment and is a good excuse for my fellow colleagues and I to brush up on our te reo.”
The team expects speaking te reo only on their designated day may be difficult but they are keen to find ways of sticking to the kaupapa and meeting the challenge.
Participation in the Mahuru Māori challenge precedes the upcoming launch of the Kawe Kōrero app during Māori language week. The app is an innovative new tool that has been designed to support and develop staff and councillor understanding and use of te reo and tikanga Māori.
Our photo shows Vaughan Payne (wearing tie) and other staff about to start the challenge.