Top Tips: Celebrating Maori Language Week
Each year, Aotearoa, New Zealand celebrates one of its official languages - te reo Māori - with Māori Language Week (0 Te Wiki o te Reo Māori). It has been celebrated since 1975, even before te reo became an official language in 1987. Māori Language Week is held from the 11th to the 18th of September this year.
During the week, everyone is encouraged to try and incorporate a little te reo into their day. You’ll probably see and hear some phrases on television and radio, and your children might do some special activities at school. And in the supermarket, you’ll spot Whittakers Creamy Milk chocolate sporting its now traditional Language Week packaging, Miraka Kirīmi.
To help you celebrate the week, we’ve chosen some fab books for children, either written in te reo or to help them learn some basic words - even if you are an adult, you’ll find them helpful!
Simple books to learn te reo
If you are new to te reo, these books with words in both te reo and English will help you learn common words and phrases.
The Reo Pepi series - These books were created by two cousins living on the Otago Peninsula for their own children and children across New Zealand. The simple picture books cover various topics, including animals, shapes, feelings and actions and are bi-lingual.
Kuwi & Friends Māori Picture Dictionary - With more than 1000 basic words to learn including colours, numbers and household items, this is a great resource for children (and adults) who’d like to start their te reo journey.
My First Words about Tikanga Maori - Created by TV personality and te reo advocate Stacey Morrison, this book explores Māori customs and practices such as powhiri (formal welcomes) and kaitiakitanga (guardianship) and how to navigate them as well as introducing some of the words used in these situations.
Books that have been translated from English to te reo
Recently a number of popular fiction and non-fiction books have been released in te reo editions. Some of them are part of an ambitious project by the Kotahi Rau Pukapuka Trust to translate 100 popular book titles into te reo over the next few years. Here are some of our favourites:
Hairy Maclary from Donaldsons' Dairy - Hairy Maclary no te Teri a Tanarahana
Where’s Spot? - Kei Hea a Spot?
Time for Bed, Little Kiwi - He wā moe, Kiwi Pakupaku
Oh the Places You’ll Go - Nōu te Ao, e Hika e!
Diary of a Wimpy Kid - Te Rataka a Tama Hungoingoi
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone - Hare Pota me te Whatu Manapou
Edmonds My First Cookbook - Taku Puka Tohutao Tuatahi
Taking a story that your child might have already read in English can help them appreciate the new language as they already know the plot and can concentrate more fully on the words.
We hope you enjoy exploring these books. Don’t forget that if you’d like new books for the children or young adults in your family to explore each month, you can sign them up for a Book Box subscription. Each month, we’ll send a book or selection of books for younger children based on their favourite genres or interests.
- Words by Arwen Hann