20 July 2020

Media Release 

Tamati Ellison fronts Māori Language Week again 

Tamati Ellison

Rugby star Tamati Ellison fronts national Māori Language Week promotions for the second year running. In 2011 he was the star of “Manaakitanga Moments” – Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori’s (the Māori Language Commission) Māori Language Week promotions.

This year Tamati fronts the Māori Language Week campaign with fellow rugby league star Wairangi Koopu. “Arohatia te Reo” (cherish the language) is a four part series promoting this year’s Māori Language Week.

Every year since 1975 New Zealand has marked Māori Language Week. This year Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori builds on the momentum created from previous years, celebrating people’s love and use of te reo Māori.

Te reo Māori (the Māori language) is our country’s indigenous and official language. While Māori Language Week is marked as a time for all New Zealanders to celebrate te reo Māori and to use more Māori phrases in everyday life. For many advocates, speakers and supporters alike increasing te reo Māori proficiency and presence is an everyday commitment

Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori this year aims to encourage initiatives and commitments to be ongoing beyond the week, buoyed by those that have taken this step already. TVNZ and TV3 now open their main news stories in te reo Māori, Air NZ welcome passengers in te reo Māori, radio stations around the country are also taking this initiative. .

[1]    Māori Language Week 2011 promotion 1:    Māori Language Week 2011 promotion 2:

       Week 2011 promotion 2:


This contagiousness is also seen with the rugby star and rugby league star vying for leading this year’s advertising campaign, following on the heels of the campaign of 2011. Tamati Ellison (former Hurricanes player and All Black) is passionate about te reo Māori and committed to contributing to te reo Māori being more and more a part of our country’s identity and something that all New Zealanders are proud of. “I think it's important that Māori and the entire nation nurture and grow our language so that we can empower others by sharing what makes Aotearoa unique”, says Tamati.

New York Times travel writer, Seth Kugel this year reported that, “the Māori language is in fact everywhere.” Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori aims to have this be the experience of all New Zealanders. Look out for Tamati and Wairangi in the “Arohatia te Reo” promotions.


Nicky Birch
021 475 782 



Māori Language Week is made possible with the support of:

Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori – Māori Language Commission
Te Puni Kōkiri – Ministry of Māori Development
Te Kāhui Tika Tangata – Human Rights Commission