Te reo the essence of Māori identity

For Māori Language Week 2017, Te Rina Robens explains some of the reasons te reo Māori is a unique part of her identity.​

It is fair to say that being Māori is a journey.

As Māori, we are not only judged by our appearance but by our language and culture.

Despite the ups and downs in this journey, it is important that we as Māori people continue to embrace what still remains of our language, our culture and our identity.

I climbed to the top of my mountain and looked down to the glistening waters where our canoe came to shore. Thereafter I sat in my whare tipuna and looked up at a photograph of my grandmother that hangs there. I began to wonder what the heartache and pain was that I was feeling. Then came the realisation that the pain I was feeling was for the loss of my language.

I remember my elders, my ancestors being abused for speaking their own language. I remember my aunty having to go to university to buy back our own language. Now I realise how privileged I am to be raised Māori and to be taught in Māori by the experts themselves.

The love for my language goes beyond eternity, simply because the language is the connection to the land, to the elders and to our ancestors (tikanga).

As the quote says, ‘The language is the life force of what it is to be Māori.’

Personally, I don’t believe that the Māori language is just a language; It is a living thing with a heart, soul and a spirit. Every word, every sentence, every story is unique. Our language is a living life force that gives us a whole other perspective on life.

That is why I believe that my love for te reo Māori has been implanted in my DNA from the language’s very origins.

Ko te reo te hā o te tuakiri Māori

Nā Te Rina Robens

He tauira tau tuatahi a Te Rina Robens kei roto i te hōtaka rumakanga o Te Huarahi Māori. Kei te whakangungua ia hei pouako mō ā tātou tamariki, mokopuna hoki, e ako ana mā te huarahi o te reo Māori. Mō Te Wiki o te Reo Māori kua tuhia e Te Riha he tuhinga poto e whakamārama ana i ētahi o ngā take ko te reo Māori te manawapou o tōna tuakiri.

‘Tākiri ko te ata ka korihi te manu o te reo Māori.  Ka tīoriori te manu nei i ahu mai i Hawaiiki nui, Hawaiiki roa, Hawaiiki pāmamao.  Tau rawa mai ana ki Aotearoa Māruarua e.’

Koinei te waka o te reo Māori e hoea nei e te nuinga o tātou Ngāi Māori. Ahakoa ngā pikinga me ngā hekenga o te hāpai i te hoe, ko te mea nui kia whai hua tātou a Ngāi Māori mā me tō tātou nei reo rangatira.

Ka piki ake, ka kake ake au ki te tihi o tōku maunga, ā, ka titiro whakararo ki te awa e rere ana, e ripi ana, - te awa i ū mai ai tō mātou waka, a Takitimu. Ka tae atu au ki te poho o tōku whare tipuna o Ngatauewaru. Ka titiro whakarunga au ki tōku kuikui, me te whakaaro anō,

‘He aha rā kai te tau o taku ate e haehae ake nei.’

‘Ko te mamae kē i te ngaronga o taku reo.’ Nō mai rā anō te kōrero i patua, i wepua ō tātou tīpuna mō te kōrero i tō rātou ake reo. Heke iho mai ki tōku whaea nāna anō i tae atu ki te whare wānanga ki te hoko anō i tō tātou nei reo. Heke iho mai ki ahau, ko taku waimarie hoki ko taku whakaakoranga i te ao Māori, ki te ao Māori, ā, nā te Māori anō au i whāngai.

Ko te take e kaingākau nuitia ana e au tōku reo, ko te whakapapa e tūhono nei i te tangata ki te whenua me ōna ake mātua, tūpuna hoki.

E kī ana te kōrero, ‘Ko te reo te mauri o te mana Māori.’

Mōku ake ko tēnei mea te reo Māori ehara i te reo anake. He manawa, he ngākau, he wairua, he mauri tōna. He motuhaketanga kei roto i ngā kupu, kei roto i ngā rerenga kōrero, kei roto i ngā kōrero, kei roto i ngā pakiwaitara.  He ara motuhake te reo ki te ao whānui, he ara hoki hei titiro motuhake ki te ao. Koia rā te motuhaketanga, te ahureitanga hoki, o te reo Māori.  Koia rā hoki te take e kī nei au, ‘Ehara i te mea nō naianei taku aroha ki te reo Māori, engari nō mai rā anō.’

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