This week - ākina te reo

This week – ākina te reo

Carleen Dekarski In the news

Another exciting Māori Language Week. The theme this year is ākina te reo (behind you all the way) which is about using te reo Māori in a way that supports and inspires others.

Today I started my Advanced Beginners class at work with a great group and we also have waiata (singing) classes each day at lunchtime.

The Māori Language Commission have developed some great tools to assist with advancing your vocabulary and some inspiring and supportive phrases for the week.

So why is an Archive page talking about language week? This is our national language and instead of leaving this language to linger in an archive many peoples of New Zealand would like to see this remain as a living language.

Where do you start? Introduce a couple of new words each day to substitute an english word. For example:

“Today that was great mahi” (work)

“Thanks for the kōrero” (talk)

“Where is the whare paku please?” (toilet)

“He is in the whare kai” (kitchen)

“Mōrena” (good morning)

This is another good site by NZ History for useful words that you can learn and include. It also has a short sound file so you can hear the word spoken.

I’m excited for this week to learn more and get my pepeha (way to introduce yourself) outlined and recited in class. Māori use introducing themselves in a way that connects with their land, water and people. It remembers the journey that started before them that brought them to that point.

I remember stumbling across a pamphlet in the archive outlining the differences between working with Māori. One of the areas the pamphlet particularly focused on was introductions. European introductions talk about the “who am I and what do I do” e.g. “My name is Bill, I work for ABC Industries as a Planner”. Māori talk about the where and who – this flows from the land they are a part of, the wai (water) be it awa (river) or lake they affiliate to along with iwi (tribe), hapu (family group) and then themselves as a part of that ancestry. Neither are right or wrong, just different.

So this week will be one full of learning. I hope you will share some of your new words with me over this next week or even further than that!

Kia kaha e hoa mā! – Let’s go team!

Recognition: Learning photo by John-Mark Kuznietsov, Creative Commons Zero licence, published with thanks from

Share this Post

About the Author

Carleen Dekarski

Facebook Twitter

I have worked in the quality management, information management and archival field over the last 15 years across Australia, England and New Zealand. The progression from information management to archives was a self taught journey and one that is not unfamiliar in many businesses and communities today. My daily expertise is grounded in local government archives however the principles of archiving apply to all. I am a member of the ICA and ARANZ.