A campaign that mobilised 1 in 5 New Zealanders to join in a Māori Language Moment has won two prestigious, global communications awards.

Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori and digital strategy company, For Purpose were announced as winners of the Overall Best International Campaign (National) and Best International Website in Washington DC earlier this morning.

“We were humbled when more than 1 million New Zealanders joined us to create the largest single celebration of our language ever and today we are humbled again by this international recognition,” said Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori chief executive, Ngahiwi Apanui.

“Our team is very small, but we are passionate about te reo Māori and its place in the future of Aotearoa. We are indebted to our friends at For Purpose who provided us with the expertise that enabled us to make history last year.”

While working out a way to celebrate Māori Language Week during the COVID-19 pandemic, the commission designed a campaign that could take place no matter what. On Monday 14th September 2020, the same moment the Māori Language Petition was presented to parliament 49-years before: more than 1 million New Zealanders stopped what they were doing and celebrated te reo Māori in their own way, wherever they were.

“From Kate in Waihi who ordered her coffee in te reo Māori, to call centre worker Pradeep who greeted callers with Kia ora, to government agencies, companies and schools who stopped to sing waiata Māori: last year more than 1 million New Zealanders from all walks of life joined the ongoing Māori language movement,” said Māori Language Commissioner, Professor Rawinia Higgins.

“Attitude change is crucial to language revitalisation and last year’s Māori Language Moment signalled a landmark change in the attitudes of the people of Aotearoa. We dedicate these awards to everyone who stood with us last year and all of our language champions who have been leading us for generations. Kia kaha te reo Māori!”

The Reed Awards are run by Campaigns & Elections and celebrate the very best in grassroots advocacy and social campaigns from around the world.


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