Ka ako ahau, ka kōrero ahau – I will learn, I will speak

by the Southern Cross Team
Wednesday , 15 September 2021 - 3-4 minutes read
Colleagues laughing during an office meeting
Thinking well

We’ve been celebrating Māori Language Week in Aotearoa since 1975. This special week is dedicated to celebrating te reo by incorporating more of it into our everyday lives. It also gives us the opportunity to promote the language, helping to support its future.

The enthusiasm for Māori Language Week in Aotearoa is awe-inspiring, but once the week is over a lot of us tend to put it to the back of our minds for another year.

We want to set ourselves a goal to read, listen, speak and learn te reo Māori all-year round.

Last year, ‘A Māori Phrase a Day’ author, Hēmi Kelly, helped us learn some useful te reo phrases. So, this year we reached out to him again, to teach us some Māori wellbeing phrases that people can use to have honest mental health kōrero with their whānau, friends and workmates.

He kapu kawhe (have a cup of coffee) and watch the video of Hemi’s five phrases below (03:44 minutes).
  • Kia ngā te manawa – Take a breath
  • Ko au hei tuarā mōu – I've got your back
  • Kia kaha te puta ki waho – Get outside as much as you can
  • Kia wātea te hinengaro – May your mind be clear
  • Me hui tahi tāua/tātou – We should get together

Having a conversation with your friends, or loved ones is a way of letting them know you’re here and you support them.

By using these phrases, and other common words like whānau, kai, hīkoi, or wai as naturally as we say family, food, walk, or water, and trying your best to pronounce them correctly, we can all do our part to uphold the mana of the language.

Give it a go, don't be too whakamā (embarrassed), but instead keep speaking the language, and together let’s celebrate the beauty of New Zealand's indigenous language and help preserve it for generations to come.

Learn more te reo phrases with Hemi Kelly

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