One of the challenges many indigenous languages face is getting people to use the vocabulary. So … every year since 1975 New Zealand has celebrated Maori Language Week, a time to recognize te reo Maori (the Maori language) and to integrate Maori phrases in everyday conversation.’
In 2011 the festivities take place July 4-10. The Maori Language Commission has chosen Manaakitanga (respect for hosts and kindness to guests) as the theme for this year’s language week. You might know that along with kaitiakitanga, manaakitanga is a cornerstone in the current New Zealand tourism strategy.
In fact, Māori Language Commission Chief Executive Glenis Philip-Barbara says the word has particular value connected to the upcoming Rugby World Cup. In the official announcement he encourages New Zealanders to “use Māori language to host our visitors from cities to rural towns, hotels to homes, all modes of public transport and on our streets. Everyone who has Māori language knowledge, great or small, is encouraged to use it as often as they can during this exciting time as New Zealand showcases itself on the world stage.”
In honor of this year’s Maori Language Week, I present three inspired Maori proverbs:
You may remember that in January this blog was the first to announce Maori Language Week! That post remains one of the most popular according to the traffic stats.
Mind you, I am not fluent in Maori, but I have enough Maori friends who casually drop local words into the chat that I’ve become hooked on learning a bit. It’s also good to be able to share with local indigenous friends in Mexico how indigenous languages survive and thrive in other countries. The Maori in particular are great leaders. Mauri Ora!