New Zealand’s first ever parade to celebrate the Māori language will get underway in Wellington on July 4.
The Māori Language Commission is currently mobilising hundreds of groups and thousands of people to take part in the event which will kick off this year’s annual Māori Language Week campaign.
“We are taking te reo Māori to the streets and making it visible in places and spaces where it isn’t,” said commission chief executive Ngahiwi Apanui.
“Every New Zealander has a role to play in the revitalisation of te reo and we want to involve Māori and non- Māori in the biggest celebration of te reo that our country has ever put on.”
The commission is calling on all groups from the public and private sectors as well as universities, wānanga, schools, kura, play centres, kindergartens, kōhanga reo, sports teams, kapa haka groups, marae and hapū throughout Wellington region to join the parade.
Māori Language Week is about raising awareness that te reo Māori is in a perilous state (only one in four Māori people and less than 2% of our country's non-Māori population speak te reo) and that, by speaking a little every day, New Zealanders can help create the change that is needed.
The theme for this year’s campaign is ‘ākina te reo’ which is about using the language to show support, including for our country’s athletes who are heading to Rio for the Olympic Games in August.
The parade will start at 11am at Parliament and proceed to Te Papa Tongarewa (via Lambton Quay).
Each participating group is encouraged to organise a float, be that a bike, car, van or truck adorned in signs and symbols supporting te reo Māori as well as our athletes.