Kōrero: Pakihi Pathways to te Reo Māori

October 26, 2023

The theme of Te Wiki o te Reo Māori 2023 is Kia Kaha Te Reo Māori – making the language stronger.

To us, Māori Language Week is as much about sharing email sign-off phrases, using new kupu to order your morning kawhe, and championing original place names as it is about kōrero, discussing how we can continue to foster opportunities for growth and reclamation of our language beyond just this week.

We spoke with three trailblazing pakihi Māori who are championing te reo Māori me ngā tikanga, not just for Te Wiki o te Reo Māori but day in and day out. Here, they share the learning pathways they're paving in their business and they offer insights into how they do (or would) support their kaimahi if they want to pursue reo immersion. Their whakaaro is insightful and demonstrates what the future for revitalising te reo Māori can look like in business.

Ko tōku reo tōku ohooho, ko tōku reo tōku māpihi maurea - My language is my awakening, my language is the window to my soul.

TOA Architects

"TOA is a massive advocate for te reo Māori me ona Tikanga Māori. We live and breathe this every day at TOA. We recently had a full team noho at Hukanui Marae which was a profound experience for everyone. We start our week with one of our kaumatua conducting a deep mihimihi and karakia, acknowledging the ancient whenua and tangata o Tāmaki Makaurau. Every week we are blessed to have a kui, Nanny Maikera come to our studio where we practice waiata (we have a TOA waiata written for us) and she has one-on-one sessions with our Kaitoa to help us all on our respective journeys. Many of our kaimahi are fluent and so we often have wānanga that are in te reo Māori.

Every new visitor has a mihi whakatau to TOA and we have two kaimahi that have signed up for full immersion to date which we fully support. We provide part-time mahi in their holidays and of course hold their job open for when they finish. This week, we are hosting a major law firm who is based here in Tāmaki and we will provide a mihi whakatau as well as a snapshot into te ao Māori and what we do."

Follow TOA Architects on Instagram and visit their website.

Whare PR

"We are really lucky to have a kaiārahi at Whare PR, Rangi Ahipene, which is rare for a boutique comms agency. We do karakia every morning together, usually around 11, as we have a mix of contractors and full timers, so we make a time that works for everyone. We also practice our pepeha and whakapapa a few times a week and we learn a new whakataukī every week. Rangi - we call him Mātua Met, short for metaphors - he was fortunate to have spent time with his Aunty, Dr Rose Pere, so Rangi takes us on lots of deep wairua dives and shares the kōrero they had on kaupapa.

"Many of us are active learners, doing reo courses during the week. Rangi and I have also launched rangisreo.com which has over 100 short videos for purchase.

"If a kaimahi wanted to do an immersion, there is always the option to contract to us at hours that suit, working ten hours a week for us is really good money, so could supplement study well."

Follow Whare PR on Instagram and visit their website.

RUN Aotearoa

"We are lucky to have hired a Pou Ahurea Māori who looks after each kaimahi in terms of supporting their reo journey, where each kaimahi wants to learn at a different level. We begin all hui with karakia and mihimihi, all kaimahi participate in wā whakawhanaunga, and finish with karakia. Each person is on a journey so our Pou has worked with each kaimahi to work out individual goals pertaining to te reo Māori, and develop strategies for our kaimahi to reach their goals. We've also compiled 'Te Puka Kōrero a RUN' with sentence structures to learn that relate to the mahi we do, including how to lead a karakia and give mihimihi in hui.

"We are very supportive of our kaimahi, especially those who are seeking to upskill, reclaim their culture etc. We haven't had anyone make the immersion journey yet, however, our Creative Director Raymond has expressed his interest to immerse himself into the world of te reo Māori, so he could be the first. Being a small Māori owned pakihi, we'd try and support kaimahi where we can, however in reality, between having to compete with mainstream non Māori agencies for work more suited to us, we find it hard to employ all the things we'd like to for our employees when we aren't winning the pūtea like our counterparts."

Follow RUN on Instagram and visit their website.

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