A few chal­lenges in Mahuru Māori

Whangarei Report - - FRONT PAGE -

At­tempt­ing to or­der a Big Mac with no pat­ties in te reo Māori is just one of the chal­lenges Shaquille Short­land has faced this month.

There have also been looks of con­fu­sion, friends who don’t re­ply to mes­sages, and fam­ily who mes­sage him even in the same room.

The Whangārei man is tak­ing part in Mahuru Māori, a chal­lenge to only speak te reo Māori for the month of Septem­ber.

“It’s a very lonely chal­lenge, es­pe­cially if your fam­ily and close-by friends don’t re­ally speak Māori. Same in the work en­vi­ron­ment. I sup­pose the best place is Face­book be­cause there’s ded­i­cated groups for peo­ple do­ing the chal­lenge. So I put up in Māori ‘we should change the name to Mahuru Mokemoke’ which is lonely Septem­ber,” he said.

Short­land, 24, did not grow up around te reo but be­gan learn­ing at Hato Petera col­lege. He would fol­low the priests, kaumā­tua and kuia, pick­ing up on the dif­fer­ent ex­pres­sions they would use.

“I’m quite a quick learner. I learn songs as they’re be­ing played so it didn’t take me long to be con­fi­dent in speak­ing te reo, but whether I was good at it or not at the time is an­other story. It’s about en­cour­ag­ing peo­ple to just speak it.” Short­land, who now teaches te reo Māori, has be­ing tak­ing part in Mahuru Māori since 2016.

“It does en­cour­age other Māori to pick up their Māori. If they can’t quite un­der­stand me it makes them go ‘Oh, I bet­ter go back and look up what that word means’. But it’s also a re­ally per­sonal ben­e­fit, so that I’m not los­ing the reo for my­self.” But there are also chal­lenges.

“I was with a friend who wanted a Big Mac with­out pat­ties, and I don’t even like or­der­ing that in English be­cause it sounds stupid. In the end I just ended up getting Filet-o-fish, He Hamu­paka Ika. They un­der­stood that.”

A pa­rade to cel­e­brate and pro­mote Māori Lan­guage Week has “grown beyond our wildest ex­pec­ta­tions,” or­gan­is­ers say.

For the first time, a pa­rade to cel­e­brate Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori will be held in Whangārei on Fri­day.

Moana-aroha Henry, Whangārei Girls’ High School ka­iako Māori, said the school-led ini­tia­tive started from want­ing to take a com­mu­nity-based ap­proach to Māori Lan­guage Week, which started on Mon­day.

“The big­ger cities like Welling­ton, Hamil­ton and Auck­land are do­ing a hīkoi. So we thought why can’t Whangārei do one too? So this will be the first time for Whangārei.

“We’re look­ing at com­ing to­gether as a Māori reo com­mu­nity, so not nec­es­sar­ily just Māori but non-māori who are en­thused by te reo Maori, and try­ing to nor­malise te reo Māori in our com­mu­nity,” she said.

The pa­rade starts with a karakia out­side Whangārei Li­brary at 10.30am. It will move to the Cameron St mall with a flash mob haka and wa­iata be­fore the hīkoi pro­ceeds to the Canopy Bridge at the Town Basin. Ringi Ho­hepa, WGHS Head of Māori, said so far 1400 peo­ple from the Far North to Kaipara had reg­is­tered their at­ten­dance for the pa­rade.

“We first thought it would just be Whangārei Girls’ High School and a cou­ple of whanaunga who are al­ready in the world of te reo Māori,” she said. “About time — I think that’s what the reaction was — some­one has fi­nally got the pas­sion to carry this.”

Kim Rogers, Whangārei Girls High School deputy prin­ci­pal, said the pa­rade was a pos­i­tive af­fir­ma­tion of te reo Māori.

“We hope to high­light te reo is here to stay. It’s one of three of­fi­cial lan­guages of Aotearoa [with English and NZ Sign Lan­guage] and we’ve got sup­port in our com­mu­nity and our rohe of Te Tai Tok­erau.”


Whanga¯ rei’s Shaquille Short­land is speak­ing only te reo Ma¯ ori for the en­tire month of Septem­ber.


MOANA-AROHA Henry, Whangārei Girls’ High School ka­iako Maori, Ringi Ho­hepa, head of Māori, and deputy prin­ci­pal Kim Rogers are ex­cited for the city’s first Māori Lan­guage Week pa­rade.

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