Mahi tahi between Te Ahurei Toi o Tāmaki Makaurau and Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori
Signing of partnership agreement between Auckland Arts Festival and the Māori Language Commission

Signing edited

Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori Chief Executive Ngahiwi Apanui  and Auckland Arts Festival Chief Executive David Inns sign the mahi tahi

Te Ahurei Toi o Tāmaki Makaurau (Auckland Arts Festival) and Te Taura Whiri i te reo Māori (Māori Language Commission) have today signed a mahi tahi (partnership agreement) dedicated to the revitalisation of te reo Māori.

Auckland Arts Festival (AAF) is honouring the importance of te reo Maāori in 2019, and has introduced a new programme - Toitū Te Reo - which aims to showcase the organisation’s commitment to championing the normalisation of te reo Māori through the platform of the arts.

The mahi tahi is part of Māori Language Commission’s vision of the Maihi Karauna, which is the revitalisation of te reo Māori so it becomes an everyday language and again resonates throughout Aotearoa.

On the collaboration, AAF Artistic Director Jonathan Bielski says, “Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori is helping us meet our aspirations in normalising te reo Māori. In turn, we have a number of creative platforms through which we can inspire people to use our first language as often as possible.”

Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori Chief Executive Ngahiwi Apanui says, “We’d like to congratulate Te Ahurei Toi o Tāmaki Makaurau for embarking on this journey with us. Te reo Māori in the arts is an integral component of normalising te reo Māori everywhere.”

As well as signing the mahi tahi today, Auckland Arts Festival has announced a group of new Toitū Te Reo ambassadors. They are Stacey Morrison, Jarod Rawiri, Jenny-May Clarkson, Scotty Morrison, Hemi Kelly and Jennifer Ward-Lealand.

AAF’s Toitū Te Reo (“Uplift te reo”) programme aims to create connections between those who are fluent in te reo Māori with non-speakers. It is a chance for Aucklanders and visitors to the city to practise their te reo Māori through a variety of spoken, written and artistic mediums.

The majority of the events in the Toitū Te Reo programme are free. Examples include works in te reo Māori, such as Te Kuia Me Te Pūngāwerewere, the kids’ show inspired by Patricia Grace’s classic yarn The Kuia and the Spider, and Apirana Taylor’s extraordinary, homeric one-man show Ka Tito Au: Kupe’s Heroic Journey which will travel to venues, halls and marae across the city, delivering a marvellous tale of the epic journey of the great Pacific explorer.

The festival will open with a huge, free, all-in waiata event in Aotea Square, Tira (choir), to which everyone is invited to sing-along with Stan Walker, Maisey Rika, Ria Hall and Troy Kingi

The festival will again present its annual community-led participatory arts programme, Whānui, which in 2019 will be centred around te reo Māori.

In the huge musical centerpiece, Tōku Reo Waiata, some of the country’s most beloved singers, including Stan Walker, Moana Maniapoto, Rob Ruha and Tami Neilson, will turn up the volume and share the joy of waiata with a delighted audience.

According to Jonathan Bielski, “It is our goal that te reo Māori is heard, seen and felt every day of the Festival. Toitū Te Reo is a chance for people to use te reo Māori as often as possible, in safe, accessible and fun ways.”

As well as the artistic work, AAF has translated a number of pages in its 2019 programme brochure into te reo Māori.

About Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori 
Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori is a Crown Entity, established initially by the Māori Language Act 1987 and charged with the promotion and maintenance of te reo Māori as an official language of New Zealand Aotearoa.
Recently Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori had its functions amended by the Ture mō Te Reo Māori Act 2016. This Act now includes the new additional function of Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori ‘to lead the coordination of the implementation of the Maihi Karauna.

About the Toitū Te Reo Ambassadors

Jarod Rawiri
Actor Jarod Rawiri is on a journey reclaiming his reo.
Born and bred in Auckland City, Jarod has performed many theatre and TV roles in te reo Māori, despite not being a fluent speaker – like many other urban Māori. His mother, Awhina Rawiri, is a huge inspiration in his desire to pursue the language. As a young solo mum to Jarod she took herself off to university to complete a degree in Māori as an effort to learn more about her identity and culture and set an example for her son. This year, Jarod is enrolling in a night class to reignite his reo journey and also support his own children's journeys – who are in bilingual classes at school.

Hemi Kelly
Hemi Kelly (Ngāti Maniapoto, Ngāti Tahu, Ngāti Whāoa) is a lecturer in te reo Māori at AUT University, and a licensed translator and graduate of Te Panekiretanga o Te Reo/The Institute of Excellence in the Māori Language.
He is also involved in a number of Māori language planning and revitalisation initiatives within the community and enjoys sharing his love for the language with anyone who shows an interest. Hemi is passionate about writing and translation studies. In 2017, Hemi translated Witi Ihimaera’s novella Sleeps Standing and published his first book, A Māori Word a Day, in 2018.

Jennifer Ward-Lealand
For more than nine years, actor Jennifer Ward-Lealand CNZM has been learning te reo Māori. As an adult learner, she has now become a fluent speaker.
In 2008, she started her journey with weekly night classes, and after four years of this decided to take the plunge and enrol in a total immersion course.

Jenny-May Clarkson
Born in Te Kuiti, Jenny-May Clarkson has been a TV Presenter, sport commentator, reporter and NZ Netball Player.
After many years of ‘bluffing’ her way through presenting shows on Māori TV, Clarkson decided one day to enrol herself into a year-long total immersion programme to reclaim and ground herself back into her reo, not only for herself but her twin boys.

Scotty Morrison
Scotty Morrison (Ngati Whakaue) is a professor of te reo Māori at Massey University and a news presenter on TVNZ current affairs shows Te Karere and Marae.
Scotty is the author of the bestselling language guides The Raupo Phrasebook of Modern Māori, Māori Made Easy and Māori at Home, which was co-authored with his wife Stacey.

Stacey Morrison
Stacey Morrison (Ngai Tahu, Te Arawa) is a radio, author, lecturer and TV broadcaster. In 2016, she won Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori’s champion award for te reo Māori.
Stacey learnt te reo as an adult and is now alongside her husband Scotty an advocate of normalising te reo Māori. In response to the increasing interest to learn te reo, in 2018 Toro Mai, a free online course in Māori with Massey University was launched and Stacey part of the Kaiarahi team that guide this programme.