Moderator’s message Māori Language Week - Te Wiki o te Reo Māori 2023

Weaving languages into our life

What does it mean to be a New Zealander? For many of us our identity is closely tied up with sport - there was anticipation in the air last weekend as the Warriors made the playoffs and the All Blacks were playing in the opening game of the World Cup in Paris. Some were calling it Super Saturday. It turned out to be super disappointing for us! And the collective wellbeing of the nation took a dive! 

What about an identity that is more closely aligned with our languages? This is certainly trending upward in our collective consciousness. It is not without knockers. There have been opinion pieces in the media lamenting the way some of our political parties are playing the race card. In August, Joel Maxwell wrote an article in Stuff with the headline “As election looms, can we have a safe campaign season for Māori?” In the article he pleads with politicians not to inflame, exploit or pander to anti-Māori bigotry.

Where do we Presbyterian Christians fit in all this? I think we are well placed to celebrate the richness that languages bring to culture, identity and collective meaning. Each week we dig into the beautiful richness of the biblical languages and reflect on the nuanced influences of Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek, Latin and English as they come down to us through the history of script and translation. This is a beautiful and time-honoured part of who we are as church. We Presbyterians love to learn and ‘fill the basket of knowledge’ - whaowhia te kete mātauranga.

And in similar ways, the increasing trend for the weaving of languages into all of life in Aotearoa is a beautiful thing. Something to celebrate, as we embrace the richness and depth it brings to what it means to live in this land.

Our PCANZ website puts it so well:
Māori Language Week begins Sept 11: Te Wiki o te Reo Māori 
Everyone can contribute to te reo Māori revitalisation: make te reo Māori welcome at church, home, work, and in the community; Encourage others to use and learn te reo Māori; Pronounce te reo Māori  words correctly when speaking English; Learn a little, use a little; Learn more, and use what you know; Keep improving your language, and share what you know. See resources on the Church website to help you increase usage of te reo Māori here.

Ngā mihi me te aroha nui
Right Rev Hamish Galloway
Moderator Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand