“Learning Te Reo is my own journey, I am still learning, I will always be learning but it’s a wonderful, exciting journey to be on and every day I learn new words, new phrases and my conversations in Te Reo grow longer and richer” – Cathy Cherrington, Health Promotion Manager, Te Hiku Hauora.
As a Maori health organisation, Te Hiku Hauora take the responsibility of nurturing and keeping Te Reo alive very seriously.
We do this by offering free weekly classes to all staff, incorporating use of Te Reo within our building, using Te Reo on our website and social media pages and within all panui we distribute, and encouraging our kaimahi and clientele to use the language whenever possible.
This week we celebrate the 40th anniversary of Te Wiki O Te Reo Māori (Māori Language Week). This is a time for all New Zealanders to celebrate Te Reo Māori (one of three official languages of New Zealand) and to use more Māori phrases in everyday life.
Keeping a language alive and growing requires constant use, and incorporating into everyday use allows the language to become ‘the norm’ and further encourages others to use it and learn it too.
The journey towards learning and using a language can be a difficult one, but something many Te Hiku Hauora employees value highly.
Mobile Nurse Fiona Swainson says, “It’s important for me to learn Te Reo because I work in a Maori organisation and I love being able to have that connection with my Maori patients. Also, I was born and bred in NZ, so feel a certain pride in the language and I can show off to my English cousins.”
Dental Health Promoter Anahera Tripp says, “It’s really cool that our organisation encourages and supports us in learning Te Reo.”
“Te Reo links me to those that have gone before me,” says Cathy Cherrington. “It identifies me in the present and I can pass it down to my mokopuna so that it is never lost in the future.”
“I applaud Te Hiku Hauora for its consistent support of Te Reo over the many years it’s been in practice. There are very few, if any, organisations that actively promote and encourage use of Te Reo in your everyday role. I started here barely able to write a sentence in Te Reo; let alone stand up and speak at some length in front of a crowd in Te Reo – now I am doing both, improving every day, always learning and never giving up.”
- Maori comprise 43% of the far north population, compared to 14% nationwide
- 14% of far north Maori speak Maori, compared to 4% nationwide
- Culture is a determinant of health and not providing culturally appropriate health services is an access barrier for Maori
- Language and culture are strongly connected and, as languages disappear, cultures die