Our Blog

where we write about the things we love



Whakamanahia Te Reo Māori ki te Wāhi Mahi

Elevate the status of Te Reo Māori in the Workplace

Nā Kat Raureti

Being raised in a prominently Māori town, I was fully immersed in both my language and culture on a daily basis. I was sheltered from the stigma associated with being Māori and the uncertainty that our language and culture was actually facing. It wasn’t until I moved away from this sanctuary that I realised the frightening state of our language and culture. When it became a challenge for me to engage with my reo and culture, I discovered the importance te reo had not only to my wellbeing as a person, but to us as a people.

Te reo Māori has had a turbulent journey over the past 150 years, emanating primarily from the diverse attitudes that have existed throughout our young history. At present, our reo sits in a delicate state, in a time where only a small minority of our country speak te reo and a modest fraction of society continue to advocate for it. I discovered through my own journey with te reo that it is central to our culture and a fundamental part of our identity as Māori.

I believe that a workplace that encourages the use of te reo is uplifting. It embodies manaakitanga and kotahitanga. Embodying tikanga such as these has the power to break down barriers, increase levels of cohesion amongst employees and helps support diversity within the workplace. Organisations need to be inspired to do more than ‘tick the box’, and instead need to genuinely embrace te reo Māori. For instance, giving meeting rooms Māori names is well and good, but employees should also be encouraged and supported to pronounce them properly.

I also believe many organisations do not realise how much influence they have when it comes to the normalisation of te reo. There is very little (if any) opportunity to engage with anyone or anything in te reo Māori during the 40-50 hours a week that we’re at work. In fact, te reo Māori becomes a foreign language. If the status of te reo were to be promoted, so would its relevance and so would the desire to learn it.

Considering the above and the current position of te reo Māori, it is significant to our wellbeing as Māori and the survival of our nation’s bicultural partnership that attitudes change, and action is taken to elevate the status of te reo within the workplace.

Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori is a great reminder for workplaces to get on board the kaupapa and put more emphasis on their Te Reo Māori strategy. To support the kaupapa, I developed a guide on how to enable keyboards to use tuhotō (macrons), which was a feature developed by Dr Te Taka Keegan, a senior lecturer in the Computer Science Department at Waikato University. Tohutō can drastically change the meaning of a word, for example, Papa vs. Pāpā = Floor vs. Father. That is one example, however there are numerous others that could even get you into a bit of trouble (e.g. tāra vs. tara).

Setting up your keyboard to effortlessly use tohutō is a small step to simplifying the use of te reo Māori on your system and in your workplace.

Tirohia ki ngā tohutohu nei ki te whakamahi i ngā tohutō mai i tō ake papa pātuhi.

See this guide here to ensure you’re set-up to easily use macrons from your own keyboard.


Posted by: Katherine Raureti, Consultant | 14 September 2017

Tags: KiaOra, te reo Māori

Blog archive

Stay up to date with all insights from the Intergen blog