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'Heartwarming' to see Te Reo Māori thriving in Aotearoa

As Aotearoa New Zealand reflects on Waitangi Day, all Kiwis should remember that protecting and nurturing our taonga - like Te Reo Māori - is everyone's responsibility.


Waimarie Hunia, 22, of Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei and Ngāti Awa, says Te Reo Māori and Te Ao Māori in general is one of Aotearoa's most important points of difference in the world.



"Te Reo Māori has been in a revitalisation stage for a while now, and I think it reinforces that Te Reo Māori is for everyone - and that it's everyone’s responsibility to ensure it is able to thrive, able to spoken, and able to be heard everywhere," she says.


Waimarie says that seeing New Zealand embrace Te Ao Māori and Te Reo over the past few years, and decades, is heartwarming.


"It feels amazing - it feels like Te Reo Māori is alive," she says.


"Te Ao Māori has always been embedded in Aotearoa, but I would hope that in 20, 50 years' time, it will be more outwardly shown - and we're already seeing that starting to happen.


"It has always been alive - but it's different seeing it not only from Māori, but from everyone, who see it as their language as well."


For Waitangi Day this year, Waimarie and her iwi will celebrate on their whenua at Ōkahu Bay on Auckland's waterfront, which always reminds her of the work done by her ancestors to give her a better future.


"Ever since I was a tamaiti, in my iwi we always commemorated Waitangi Day in Ōkahu Bay, and to see that is a reminder of my rangatira's aspirations for us," she says.


"It's the fruits of their labour - it's the past being introduced to the present, and creating something for future generations.


Waimarie says everyday Kiwis are increasingly seeing Waitangi Day as more than just a chance to have a long weekend.


"I think people are moving away from seeing it only as a public holiday, especially with the implementation of Matariki as a public holiday - people are becoming more aware of why these public holidays exist and why they're important to Aotearoa New Zealand," she says.


"Waitangi Day, for me, is a commemorative and reflective period of the partnership between Māori and the Crown.


"It also serves as a reminder of the hopes and aspirations our rangatira had for us, and a time to continue learning my iwi's history, and continuing to learn from that, so I can stay grounded in who I am today.


"I think one of the things you can do for Waitangi Day is getting to know the iwi and mana whenua in your area - or being curious about the indigenous names of places - it's about forging those relationships, and also keeping our taonga alive, one of which is Te Reo Māori."

Waimarie Hunia - Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei, Ngāti Awa



She says all New Zealanders should seek to understand the significance of Te Tiriti, the background of why it was signed, and the principles contained within it, in order to nurture a mutually-prosperous future for all.


"I do see a bright future for Aotearoa - there's a saying - "kia raka te matau, kia raka te mauī" - and what that means is that you must take knowledge and be strong in Te Ao Māori, and Te Ao Pākehā.


"I think that we're doing so much right now, and it can only go further - and I’m excited to see where that takes us."


To mark Waitangi Day this year, and to demonstrate its continued commitment to integrating Te Ao Māori, ANZ New Zealand is updating the page names and handles on its Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, TikTok, Twitter, YouTube and Pinterest accounts to ANZ Aotearoa.


ANZ has now also published its Te Ao Māori strategy - Tākiri-Ā-Rangi - online, which is available here.

ANZ New Zealand would like to acknowledge and thank Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei for allowing us to film on their whenua and marae at Takaparawhau.


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