Me Heke Ki Poneke

Wellington Mayor Justin Lester, right, and Chief Executive of Te Taura Whiri i te reo Māori Ngahiwi Apanui, wearing ‘kia ora te reo Māori’ tee-shirts.

This Te Wiki o te Reo Maori, Wellington Mayor Justin Lester is encouraging Wellingtonians to have a go.

“There are four Maori words in Wellington City Council’s logo – Me Heke Ki Poneke – do you know what they mean?” asks Mayor Lester.

“This week is Maori Language Week, so it’s a perfect opportunity to find out, as well as to try to use te reo Maori every day.

Me Heke Ki Poneke is an invitation to our city. It means come and stay in Wellington. Put it together with Absolutely Positively Wellington and it oozes confidence. Come and stay in Wellington – we have a positive attitude and we’re positive you’ll like it here.”

Mayor Lester says he wants Wellington to be a te reo Maori city.

“Te reo Maori is a taonga we need to protect, nurture, and grow.

“The Council is working on developing an organisational strategy with Te Taura Whiri i te reo Maori – the Maori Language Commission – to create an action plan that will mean te reo Maori will be seen and heard much more around our capital city.

“We have already been changing our signage to include te reo Maori and place it first when signs need updating, as well as incorporating more te reo in our publications. It’s time to take the next step.

“The Council will explore how it can include more te reo Maori in our city, including opportunities to name places.

“Around us we have Te Papa Tongarewa and Te Raukura – Te Wharewaka o Poneke, let’s follow their path.”

Maori Partnerships Portfolio Lead Councillor Jill Day says she’s been learning te reo Maori for four years.

“As an adult I have found it challenging, especially finding opportunities to practice. So I am right behind finding ways to better embrace and use this official language of Aotearoa.

“I’d love to hear ideas from our communities about how they would like to see te reo represented in our city and suburbs.

“Through learning te reo Maori, I have also learnt so much about the Maori culture and about the history of our city and country. There are so many stories behind names and words, about what they represent and how they came to be.

“I’d love for it to be easier for people to learn and speak te reo in Wellington.

“Our recent Annual Residents’ Survey told us that people want to see more te reo around our city.

“In the spirit and words of Maori Language week this year – Kia ora te reo Maori!”

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