Ngā Tohu Reo Māori 2019

6 Hakihea 2019 | Cordis - Tāmakimakaurau

Ngā Tohu Reo Māori, the annual Māori Language Awards, honour the work of people and organisations contributing to the revitalisation of te reo Māori so the landscape of Aotearoa New Zealand will resonate with our indigenous language.

These awards are your opportunity to honour these amazing people by nominating them for recognition at Ngā Tohu Reo Māori.

Key Dates

Nominations Date
Entries Open Wednesday 23 October 2019
Entries Close Sunday 10 November 2019 at midnight
Finalists are notified Monday 25 November 2019
Event Friday 6 December 2019 Auckland

Ngā Karangatanga

Iwi | Tribe

Any successful initiative promoting te reo Māori within an iwi, hapu or marae group.

Sponsor: Te Mātāwai

Whānau | Family

Any successful initiative promoting te reo Māori within whānau or groups of whānau. 

Hapori | Māori Community Revitalisation Initiatives

Any successful initiative promoting te reo Māori within Māori communities. 

Aotearoatanga | New Zealand Community

For any community group, Māori or not, making a contribution to revitalisation.

Sponsor: Manatū Taonga | Ministry for Culture and Heritage 

Rangatahi | Revitalisation targeting or led by rangatahi

Any successful initiative promoting te reo Māori actioned by or for young people.

Sponsor: Vodafone

Mātauranga - Kaupapa Māori | Education - Māori medium 

Any successful initiative promoting te reo Māori within Māori medium education.

Sponsor: Te Tāhuhu o te Mātauranga | Ministry of Education

Mātauranga - Whānui | Education - Open

Any successful initiative promoting te reo Māori for any Y1-13 educational activity, whether for Māori medium, or not.

Sponsor: Te Tāhuhu o te Mātauranga | Ministry of Education

Kāwanatanga | Government

Any successful initiative promoting te reo Māori within local or central government.

Sponsor: Te Puni Kōkiri

Pakihi | Business

Any successful initiative promoting te reo Māori within the private sector.

Te Mahi Toi, Te Mahi Whakangahau | Arts and Entertainment

Any successful initiative promoting te reo Māori within the arts and entertainment sector.

Sponsor: Te Matatini

Hākinakina | Sports

Any successful initiative promoting te reo Māori within any sporting code.

Ngā Mahi Pāpāho | Broadcasting and Media

Any successful initiative promoting te reo Māori within the broadcasting and media sector.

Sponsor: Te Māngai Pāho

Te Wiki o te Reo Māori | Māori Language Week

Any Māori language week activity – from small to big!

Sponsor: Māori Television



  • Anyone can nominate themselves or someone else.
  • Nominators and nominees must be no younger than 15 years of age.
  • Any individual or group submitting a nomination must have the agreement of the nominee.
  • Nominators must clearly explain why their candidate should be considered. Sufficient information should be supplied to allow the judges to make a decision.
  • Nominators must fill in the official entry form and submit it no later than Sunday 10 November at midnight.
  • All finalists and their nominees are expected to attend the awards gala dinner on Friday 6 December, Cordis Auckland, from 5pm with the formal event starting at 6pm.


(Note: you can nominate yourself or your group or someone else or their group. If you nominate someone else they need to agree).

  • Describe in detail what the nominee did to help revitalise te reo Māori.

  • Then, explain how what the nominee did has helped to revitalise te reo Māori.

There’s an easy way to do this. Have a look at the five elements of revitalisation. These are listed in the table below with examples and what the judges will look for.

Say how what you, or your nominee did, supported one, two, three, four or all five elements. Entries concentrating on one element have as good a chance of winning as one that includes all five. Judges guidelines are in place to make sure of this.

REMEMBER: Revitalisation is not just about learning and using te reo Māori! It’s fine to select other elements of revitalisation. They are all important.

NOTE: If you want to you can submit your entry without directly referring to the revitalisation elements – but it will be judged against them.

  • Check your entry to see it covers all you or the nominee did and how it supports revitalisation. Have a go at ‘judging’ it yourself by applying the ‘what the judges will look for’ comments below. That will tell you if you are writing all that needs to be written. Shorter entries help the judges, but all entries will be treated in the same way. You won’t lose out because your entry is long or short provided you cover what needs to be explained.
  • Submit your entry, with three still photos or other images (.jpeg) that we may use at the awards and in publicity if your entry is a finalist or winner. The sort of photos we want would illustrate what you did or, if the entry is about a person/people, those involved. Tell us you have the rights over these photos, or who does, with contact details if you have them.

The elements of revitalisation (choose the ones your entry supports)


The five elements of revitalisation you can base your entry on

Judges will look for under each element of revitalisation

Examples of activities in which the different elements of revitalisation might be present


People value te reo Māori and recognize it as a key part of our national identity.


Entries are sought for actions that lead people to value and use te reo Māori. We want to revitalise te reo Māori so that it is an everyday language. Public prominence and use recognising its status as an official language is very important.

Number of people impacted.

Quality of Māori language used.


Sustainability – will it continue?




Appeal to the group(s) targeted by the activity.



Use of te reo Māori in signage; te reo Māori use as language of ‘first contact’ e.g. reception in organisations; use of te reo Māori in formal or ceremonial occasions; systematic use of te reo Māori in an organisation’s day-to-day operation; use of te reo Māori in organisational names, communications etc.

Parades / public events.


People know te reo Māori needs revitalisation and what their role can be


Te reo Māori will not be revitalised unless decision-makers in the public, private, voluntary and community sectors become aware of the importance of action to promote te reo Māori and what they can do to help.

Number of people impacted

Change in understanding or attitudes.


Innovation and quality of the material or technique used.

Research, promotion and public events; publication of resources that promote critical awareness; submissions to government and organisations; journalism; education.

TE AKO I TE REO | Acquisition

People learn te reo Māori – naturally from others, or in education.

Number of people affected.


Quality of language acquired compared with starting-point.


Remember: you can start with little or no language, or start with a lot.

Inter-generational transmission in extended whānau groups – success in educational acquisition be it in the numbers reached or the levels of attainment; broadcast and printed educational materials to support acquisition.


Use builds on acquisition – revitalisation depends on people actually using the language they have acquired.


We need people to read, write, speak and comprehend te reo Māori in as many places and circumstances as possible. This category includes ngā whaitua kōrero |domains – places and circumstances where Māori language can be, and is, used.

Number of people using the language as a result of the initiative.


Moving te reo Māori into new domains (places or circumstances) or into places or circumstances from where it has been lost.


Sustainability of the initiative.

Will it inspire others?

Providing places where te reo Māori is used; person-to-person, in big groups, in performance art, in broadcasting, online and in print.

TE PUNA REO | Corpus

The right words and terms are available for all circumstances.

This includes improving te kounga o te reo | quality at all levels. Every year thousands of words enter the English and other world languages. Te reo Māori needs to keep pace in the creation of new words and terms allowing its use in every area of life is important work for revitalisation.

Building the quality of language used also comes under the heading of corpus.


Size of contribution.


Measured in:

1)      words and terms and/or quality improvement or

2)      the number of people accessing the corpus and quality building resource.

Creating new words and terms; success in improving pronunciation; further education of good speakers; improving the quality of the language being taught by/to good speakers; making the right words and terms accessible; access to high quality Māori (of the past or present).



A panel will determine the winner of each category. Te Taura Whiri I te Reo Māori will choose the winners of the Supreme Award, the Culture Change Award and the Lifetime Achievement Award.


  1. All finalists and winners consent to their name, image and entry information being used for publicity and promotional purposes and agree to participate in reasonable publicity about the awards as a condition of accepting the nomination.
  2. Any hard copy material submitted becomes the property of Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori and may not be returned.
  3. All finalists and their nominees are expected be present at the awards gala dinner on December 6 in Auckland.
  4. Nominations should be for activities which principally cover the 12 months to the end of September 2019 unless the criteria of the award includes a longer period.
  5. Nominations may be made only on the official entry form at
  6. Unsuccessful nominees may be re-nominated in subsequent years.
  7. An individual or group may be nominated in more than one category.
  8. Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori may move entries to other categories to increase their chance of success or because they were nominated in an unsuitable category.
  9. The decisions of the panel of judges and Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori will be final and no correspondence will be entered into.


 Judges will be asked to look at each entry in the light of the five elements of revitalisation that form part of the revitalisation strategies of both the Crown and Māori (represented by Te Mātāwai).

These elements are Status, Critical Awareness, Acquisition, Use and Corpus (having the right words and terms).

Revitalisation is supported by all of these elements and by each of them. None is more important than the others.

Because revitalisation depends on them all, entries can be for activities which support five, or one, or any number of the elements.

To ensure judging is fair, those nominating will be asked to indicate which element(s) their entry supports.

For an entry supporting only one element judges will mark out of a hundred, on that element alone.

So, a project to develop all words and terms needed for Māori language to be used in all areas of advanced rocket science would be marked on the Corpus element alone. It would not be disadvantaged against entries which supported other elements.

An entry covering status, critical awareness and acquisition would be marked against the three elements, each with 33.33% of the total. An entry covering all five would be marked out of 20 percent for each element.

All entries will inevitability affect each element but it is up to those nominating to say which elements(s) they want it measured against. Judges may choose to add a further element if they believe it will advantage a nomination.

Ngā Toa 2018

36 finalists were selected from more than 150 nominations, the highest number received since the awards began in 2004.

2018 Highlights and more