Finalists in 13 contestable categories of the Māori Language Commission’s annual Ngā Tohu Reo Māori, the National Māori Language Awards, have been announced
Thirty eight finalists have been selected from more than 88 entries, the highest number received since the awards began in 2004. This year’s ceremony to be hosted by the Commission and Te Reo o Taranaki, will be held in New Plymouth on 11 November.
Māori Language Commission Chief Executive Ngahiwi Apanui says the entries have set a new benchmark for innovation and excellence in te reo Māori. “Each year the competition to be named a champion of te reo Māori gets tougher,” he says. This year’s finalists, many of whom have been past winners, and are finalists in more than one category, have built on previous experience to take te reo to new heights. “The awards are an important event in the Māori language calendar and as well as recognising initiatives and activities which took place during the year, are also an opportunity to acknowledge long-term commitment by individuals and groups to Māori language revitalisation.”
Whitebait Director Louise Hoather says that the restaurant is overwhelmed with the nomination. “We have tried to do our best to champion te reo Māori in our workplace, as the ethos fits in so well with our philosophies on food and life.” Staff have monthly training in the pronunciation of language, understanding the tikanga about food gathering and harvesting, and sustainable practices.