23 July 2020

Media Release 

Māori Language Week Launch with original Minister and Chair 

Hon Koro Wetere, the former Minister of Māori Affairs, and Professor Tīmoti Kāretu, the first Commissioner are participating in this year’s launch of Māori Language Week at Te Awa, The Base, Hamilton at 8.30am, Monday, 23 July.

In 1987 the Hon Koro Wetere told Parliament that te reo Māori was not only for Māori, but for the whole nation. It is fitting that the first Minster responsible for Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori (the Māori Language Commission) is participating and in particular marking the 25th anniversary of the Māori Language Act. The Māori Language Act 1987 declared the Māori language an official language of New Zealand and also saw the establishment of Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori.

From 1987 to 1999 Professor Tīmoti Kāretu lead Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori. It was during his tenure that he saw the establishment of the national Kura Reo, a week long immersion wānanga held quarterly in different regions of Aotearoa. The Kura Reo cater for intermediate and advanced speakers of te reo Māori. Professor Kāretu is known worldwide as a language exponent and is one of the founders of Te Panekiretanga o te Reo Māori (Institute of Excellence in Māori Language) that is often referred to as producingextremely proficient’ second language speakers.

“It is a privilege to have language stalwart Te Ururoa Flavell, MP for Waiariki open both Māori Language Week and Mā te Reo this year. This year and the 25th anniversary are made even more special with two of the founding kaitiaki Hon Koro Wetere and Professor Tīmoti Kāretu. As Hon Wetere said all those years ago, the Māori language and culture belongs to everyone. Inclusiveness, shared responsibility and working together are core Māori values and are also part of this year’s theme - Arohatia te Reo. We encourage everyone to find ways to show their love for the language”, says Glenis Philip-Barbara, Chief Executive Officer of Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori.

Māori Language Week resources will also be given out throughout the event so don’t miss out!


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