Yesterday the Dominion Post launched its new masthead – Te Upoko-o-te-Ika and Te Kaunihera o Pōneke / Wellington City Council launched Te Tauihu, its strategy to make te reo a core part of Wellington’s identity. In the words of the Mayor, “We are pushing this because it is the right thing to do. It’s the only thing to do and Wellington should be leading. New Zealand needs to embrace our unique sense of identity and this is how we can support asserting that.” Importantly, this policy is part of this Council’s commitment to relationships with mana whenua.
Naming has been a powerful tool of colonisation as this informative article published earlier this week outlines. 178 years of unabated colonisation mean that there’s serious imbalance and injustice in our society that must be addressed. Carrying te reo Māori names, advocating for and speaking te reo Māori require tauiwi organisations to also address racism.
In the face of the work to be done its important to recognise the long history of the efforts of many Māori, which have lead to these current actions; and to celebrate these small, yet significant, steps along the way.
Ko te reo te mauri o te mana Māori.
The language is the life force of mana Māori.
Sir James Hēnare (Ngā Puhi) 1985