Whakatāne to become a reorua/bilingual centre
Whakatāne is becoming reorua in a partnership between Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa and Whakatāne District Council.
The initiative is supported by Aotearoa Reorua, which is a national movement that supports towns and cities across New Zealand to become bilingual centres. Iwi partners and Councils work together to develop a bilingual strategy for their centre to create more spaces, places, and opportunities where te reo Māori is seen, heard, and celebrated alongside the English language.
Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa and Whakatāne District Council leadership teams have been working to establish Whakatāne Reorua as another way to strengthen the cultural fabric of the town. The organisations also recognise the success of Whakatāne Reorua as a platform from which the partners’ reo Māori revitalisation efforts can grow to encompass the whole rohe (boundaries) of Ngāti Awa.
Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa Manahautū Reuben Araroa says as treaty partners, we are working with Whakatāne District Council on this initiative to champion the revitalisation of te reo Māori so that it can be seen, heard and felt by our communities and those who visit Whakatāne from afar.
“As partners we recognise the success of Whakatāne Reorua as a platform from which the collective reo Māori revitalisation efforts can also identify and share the more subtle features of Ngāti Awatanga across our rohe (boundaries). We see this as another way to inform our communities of our past, present and future with the hope of inciting more curiosity about our unique Ngāti Awa language, culture and how it differs from other iwi across the country.
“Reorua will also outline the protocols for making decisions and confirming an agreed understanding between Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa and Whakatāne District Council to proactively manage any perceived and actual risks relating to the uplift of te reo Māori presence in our communities.”
Whakatāne District Council Chief Executive, Steph O’Sullivan says” “By working together on this exciting initiative, we will ensure te reo Māori, as an official language, thrives and is celebrated as an integral part of our District’s identity and future.”
The revitalisation project will involve a multi-faceted approach, with various initiatives and activities to increase te reo Māori awareness, understanding, and use within the Whakatāne District. This will include things like bilingual signage, establishing reo Māori public spaces, community language workshops and more community events and celebrations of the language.
Overall, Whakatāne Reorua will provide more opportunities for people to learn and practice te reo Māori in an inclusive and supportive environment.
Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa and Whakatāne District Council encourage all residents, community groups, businesses and organisations within the Whakatāne township to actively participate in this revitalisation effort. For more information and to become a reorua/bilingual champion, visit the Whakatāne District Council website.
Aotearoa Reorua is led by the Department of Internal Affairs with support from Te Puni Kōkiri, Te Taura Whiri i te reo Māori and Te Mātāwai.