All this strengthens our identity as New Zealanders. Last year I committed to speaking more te reo and understanding tikanga Māori.
I’ve learned a lot and gained the confidence to make small changes.
From stepping outside the safety of a written greeting in an email, I now feel comfortable opening external customer events and staff meetings with a mihi and greeting my colleagues in te reo.
I still get nervous speaking, I worry I’ll get it wrong and potentially cause offence, but it is important for me to keep it up.
Late last year I was invited to speak at the Women in Leadership Summit and, with guidance from Precious Clarke, used the opportunity to open with a mihi and sprinkle te reo through my speech.
It was a daunting experience to get on stage in front of so many people and deliver, but I thought to myself ‘tū whitia te hopo’! (feel the fear and do it anyway!)
I still have a long way to go and I may never be fluent, but a better understanding of tikanga and being able to have decent pronunciation are realistic goals to have.
This year the theme for Te Wiki o te Reo Māori is again, 'Kia Kaha te Reo Māori’ - let’s make the Māori language strong.
We can all choose to use te reo and every time we do, even with simple words or greetings, we contribute to revitalisation of the language and culture. Ahakoa iti, akona, kōrerohia – learn a little, use a little.