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Te Wiki o te Reo Māori (Māori language week) is on from September 11-17 and it’s the perfect opportunity to practice your te reo and learn a little more about Aotearoa’s first language. Your wāhi mahi (workplace) is a great place to start, and it’s easy to get everyone involved.

There’s plenty of benefits to fostering a bilingual workplace. According to the Māori Language Commission, keeping an open mind towards Māori language and culture can provide your business with a point of difference, build goodwill amongst the Māori community and improve staff pride and morale. That’s part of the reason why companies like Z have already made a big commitment to diversity.

Here are five ideas that will help your business make the most of Māori Language Week, and have you and your colleagues speaking te reo in no time.

Rima (five) ways to get your wāhi mahi ready for Te Wiki o te Reo Māori

1. Put signs up

Make some simple signs and hang them up around your office to help everyone practice Māori names, words and short phrases. Write the signs in Māori, with phonetics as a guide, and then their English translation. For example, ‘Kīhini  = Kitchen’. With a few of these signs around your workplace, you can start to drop te reo into your everyday conversation.

2. Have a sing-along

Learn a waiata (traditional Māori song) and see who’s got the golden voice in your team. There’s plenty of well known waiata to try, such as Tūtira mai nga iwi or the famous Pokarekare Ana, and you can find the lyrics and music online. Learning a waiata is great fun, and a perfect way to bond with your workmates. If anyone at your work knows how to play guitar, ask if they can learn the song as it really helps to keep the rhythm.

3. Make flash cards

Flash cards are a great tool for learning simple words and phrases. Write the English word or phrase on one side, and the Māori translation on the other, for example, ’Kia ora - Hello/Thanks/Good luck!’ Practise with your workmates during break time and test each other. You can even hold a Friday quiz at the end of the week to see how many words and phrases you’ve learned.

4. Email in te reo

Change your email greeting and sign-off to include some te reo words. This is a simple way to keep Māori language flowing in your workplace, even after Te Wiki o te Reo Māori is over. Try greetings such as tēnā koe (when addressing one person) and Kia ora. If you’re talking to three or more people, try kia ora koutou (Hello everyone). Sign-offs can include ngā mihi (regards) or nāku, nā (Yours faithfully).

5. Traditional food

Learning a new language can be hard work, so reward your workmates with some delicious Māori kai. An easy meal to prepare is the much-loved boil up with bread or dumplings. If you’re super organised and know what you’re doing, you can put down a hāngi and feed a lot of people. Just make sure you’ve got someone experienced around to help you get the hāngi right.

Z are fully behind Te Wiki o te Reo Māori and keen to encourage more te reo spoken in the workplace. Learning a new language is never easy, but making an effort is the important thing, so give te reo a go!

For more inspiration, there’s heaps of great Māori resources online and even advice on how to help your office become more bilingual.

Got questions?

Find out more about Z's commitment to diversity or drop us a line at yourviews@z.co.nz.

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