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Special Edition: Te Wiki O Te Reo Māori 2022

Map-making or cartography was not a Māori tradition; rather, Māori geographic knowledge was communicated orally.  However, when European explorers started coming to Aotearoa, New Zealand, Māori were able to convert this information into a map.  


Tukitahua of Ōruru created one of the earliest Māori printed maps in 1791 (that has survived to this day).  From their village in Te Tai Tokerau, Northland - Tukitahua and Ngahuruhuru were taken to Norfolk Island, where it was hoped that they would be able to teach the convicts about flax weaving.  But as both were men, their knowledge of flax preparation was minimal.  Tukitahua sketched a map of New Zealand in chalk on the floor and transferred it to paper as he tried to convey where they wanted to be brought back home.  


His map gives most prominence to those areas he knew well and that were important to him. Tukitahua also included spiritual information.  The path that the spirits of the dead follow to Te Rerenga Wairua (Cape Rēinga) before departing to the spiritual homeland of Hawaiki runs through the North Island.


Te Wiki O Te Reo Māori

On 14 September 1972 representatives of Ngā Tamatoa and Te Rōpū Reo Māori the Te Reo Māori Society delivered the Māori language petition, with over 30,000 signatures, to Parliament.  The petition asked for active recognition of te reo Māori in Aotearoa New Zealand, and for the language to be taught in schools.


2022 marks the 50th anniversary of this important moment, which is often seen as the starting point for a significant revitalisation of te reo Māori. Later in 1972 the first Māori Language Day was held, extending to Māori Language Week in 1975.


Te Whare o te Reo Mauriora (including Te Mātāwai and Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori) is leading the national commemoration of this significant anniversary with a public event at Parliament on 14 September from 11am-1pm (tomorrow). The petition is also being exhibited at National Library from 14 September to 3 December.


A range of activities are being organised in 2022, offering all New Zealanders the opportunity to reflect on the journey of te reo and its speakers.

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