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04/09/2018 11:45am
Te Wiki o te Reo Māori - Māori Language Week - and beyond

Hauraki District Council customers might notice a change in the way they’re greeted from next week

“To celebrate and acknowledge Te Wiki o te Reo Māori (Māori Language Week) we’ve set a goal to encourage and grow our te reo skills, not just during Māori Language Week, but on an ongoing basis,” says Chief Executive Langley Cavers.

From next week, public toilet signs at Ohinemuri Park, Karangahake Reserve, Ngatea Main Street and Waihi’s Victoria Park (aka Rocket Park) will sport bilingual headings. Over time, this will be extended to other Council signs throughout the district. Email signatures will also be changed to inlcude te reo job titles, and staff will be encouraged and supported to practice speaking te reo with each other and with customers where they can.

Learning curve

“For some of us this will be a bit of a learning curve so we ask our customers to please bear with us and support us in our efforts,” Cavers said, “We may not always get our pronunciation or wording 100 percent right but we expect this will improve with practice and encouragement. Whakawhetai koe mo to tautoko – thank you for your support.”

Other changes include the introduction of a karakia at the beginning and end of Council meetings and the addition of te reo to the name badges of customer services staff and library teams. The libraries will add more te reo to existing programmes such as Toddler Time and have plenty of resources on display for all who want to brush up on their own te reo skills. The Council will also run a Facebook competition, where the best te reo photograph caption will win a set of te reo children’s books, so keep an eye on the Council Facebook page.

“Our staff and Councillors are really embracing this,” says Cavers, who is cooking mussel fritters for everyone at a special te reo celebration lunch next week.

His tupuna are from Kawhia and every year they make and sell fritters at the annual Kawhia Kai Festival to raise funds.

“Staff will literally be asked to sing for their supper and deliver a pepeha before claiming their kai,” he said.

However, his generosity stops short of revealing the special ingredients in his secret whanau mussel fritter recipe.

“Let’s just say the main ingredient is mussels and leave it at that,” he grins.

View more about Te Reo Māori Week