For the first time staff at Waikato Regional Council have taken up the Mahuru Māori challenge to speak Māori during the whole month of September.
The Council has also launched an APP to mark Māori language week.
The boss is leading by example by taking up the reo challenge.
“The language is a treasure,” said Chief Executive Vaughan Payne. “I want to support the Mahuru Māori challenge, to support my colleagues.”
The seven staff participants speak Māori on different days of the week to ensure work responsibilities and daily tasks continue.
“I acknowledge my colleagues because of their huge support,” said participant Roger Lewis, “when you speak Māori to them, they don’t have a clue of what you’re saying, so you write it down on paper in English. Another participant becomes your translator.”
“Some of the difficulties have been when I speak to non-Māori at meetings, when I go to the shop to buy food or other things,” said Payne.
To celebrate Māori Language week the council also released their Kawe Kōrero App, which was nine months in the making, to strengthen its relationships with their Iwi partners.
“It covers from learning basic pepehā right through to karakia, kōrero, whai kōrero, waiata, but enables the participant to engage with the App in such a way that they can learn at their own pace,” said Community and Services director, Neville Williams.
The APP is free and also available to users overseas.