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"It's A Revolution" - Next Generation Of Māori Storytellers Speak Up

Some of the creatives involved in Kōanga Festival 2022. Image: Supplied.
What does Te Wiki O Te Reo Māori mean to those who are charged with taking the reins for the future? We hear from participants in a festival that gives their voices a platform.


This is the generation that decides the future of te reo Māori.

After generations who were actively, physically and systematically discouraged from speaking the language of their tūpuna – the opportunity to speak, write and perform te reo Māori has been hard fought and is not being squandered.

The Big Idea asked some of the rising stars of Māori storytelling taking part in Te Pou Theatre’s Kōanga Festival (23 September – 8 October) to tell us in their own words what Te Wiki O Te Reo Māori means to them and what they hope it meansfor the future of Reo/Toi Māori in Aotearoa.


Alvie McKree (Ngapuhi, Ngati Kahu ki Whangaroa, St Vincent, Barbados)
Kōanga Festival Playwright

For me, Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori is a moment to take pause and celebrate the efforts and achievements that have been made to keep our reo alive and well.

It’s a time to remember with gratitude all the native speakers who went to great lengths to pass on their mātauranga in really creative, inspiring ways and to applaud the efforts of those who are diligently and courageously apply themselves to reclaiming this taonga tuku iho, ko te reo māori. 

Personally, I'm looking forward to the day I can pen an entire work for the stage in te reo, that's my goal. I've got work to do getting there!

Alvie McKree. Photo: Supplied.


Rawinia Parata (Ngati Porou)

Kōanga Festival Playwright

Tēnei wiki tonu, pātai mai taku tamahine, “he aha te take e kaha ana to tātau whanau ki kōrero Māori?” Ko tāku ki a ia, “he mea nui te korero Maori, na o tātau Tipuna i homai. He tino taonga te reo” 

Kei reira te oranga o tātau te iwi Māori. Kei roto i te hohonutanga o te reo Māori, kei roto i ngā tikanga Maori, kei ngā marae, kei ngā maunga, kei o tātau awa, kei roto hoki i o tātau whanau. 

Tamaiti akona i te kainga, tū ana ki te marae, tau ana. Na reira, tukua ma te reo tātau e arahi, kia puta atu anō tātau ki te ao, ka tau i roto i ngā ahuatanga katoa o te Māori. Poipoi a tātau tamariki kia pakari ai ratou, kia marama. Kei reira te oranga mo Ngai tātau katoa. 

Rawinia Parata. Photo: Supplied.


Pūoro Jerome (Mokai Patea, Maniapoto, Ngāti Kahungunu)
Ngā tohu o te taiao

Te Wiki o te Reo has special significance this year as it celebrates all those Rangatira that gathered, marched and presented Te Petihana, The Māori language petition 50 years ago for our people.

For me, Te wiki o te reo is an opportunity for people of Aotearoa to participate in our culture and recognise and make a choice to support and become more aware of the beauty of Te Ao Māori, Kaupapa Māori and our Reo Rangatira.

Pūoro Jerome. Photo: Supplied.


Alex Medland (Kai Tahu)
Kōanga Festival Playwright

My māmā was adopted by a pākehā family and grew up speaking te reo Pākehā, then I grew up speaking te reo Pākehā.

A lot of my journey so far has been to acknowledge the whakamā that sits inside my bones and to kōrero about it with my whānau.

Te Wiki O Te Reo is a revolution: to hear, read and speak Te Reo without the shame colonisation brings. Kia kaha Te Reo Māori.

Alex Medland. Photo: Supplied.

Written by

The Big Idea Editor

15 Sep 2022

The Big Idea Editor