Te Wiki o te Reo Māori 2020

Today marks the beginning of Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori (Māori Language Week), which runs from Monday 14th to Sunday 20th September this year. The week celebrates Te Reo by encouraging New Zealanders to speak, write and sing Maori, as it marks the date on which a petition was presented to Parliament in 1972 asking the government to entrust Te Reo Māori as a protected language. 

This week gives individuals and organisations both the tools and a canvas on which to improve the presence and appreciation of Te Reo in their workplaces. They’re called on to create their own ways of celebrating and learning the language within their organisations. Moreover, it offers an opportunity to consider how Aotearoa’s native language and Tikanga Māori can be incorporated into their day-to-day operations beyond the Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori.  

This year’s celebration has seen the Māori Language Commission establish Māori Language Moment: a national event with the goal to unite New Zealanders through having 1 million people speak, sing, and celebrate Te Reo at once. Designed to unite New Zealanders across the country (or the world, for that matter) the event will take place at 12pm NZT on Monday 14th September, marking the exact time the petition was presented to Parliament in 1972.

Many Global Women Partners have taken it in their stride to involve their organisations in celebrations of Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori. From staff workshops to the creation of resources for the wider public to access, Members’ explored both languages and Tikanga Māori in the workplace in diverse forms. 

If you are interested in organising Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori celebrations within your workplace, or want to improve your personal understanding, here are some of the inspirational activities organised by our partner organisations.

Heartland Bank

Embracing how Covid-19 has changed the way we work, Heartland is hosting a webinar that helps staff members integrate Te Reo Māori and Tikanga Māori into their online meetings. Titled ‘Grow Your Understanding of Te Reo Maori & Understanding of Tikanga,’ staff are invited to join the lunchtime webinar any day during the week.

Recognising their privileged position as an NZX listed company to have a positive impact on New Zealand’s indigenous language, Heartland’s Jo McNaughton will partner with Taura Grant of  Reo Whairawa Limited (a Maori business consultancy) to cover: 

  • How to conduct a pepeha and mihi (introducing yourself)
  • Incorporating karakia to gatherings (closing and opening prayers)
  • Exploring how a hui is conducted
  • Learning useful group call terminology in Te Reo Māori

Participants will also receive a kete of templates and tools to keep to help extend their newly gained knowledge.


Launched in te Wiki o Te Reo Māori 2018, Spark’s Kupu app has since become one of the most popular and accessible tools with which to learn Te Reo Māori. 

Kupu enables users to instantaneously learn Māori words and pronunciation for everyday items and settings. After taking a photo of an object through the app on the users’ device, Kupu’s computer intelligence software displays the Te Reo word, while providing pronunciation guidelines. 

The app even saw an adaption this year to celebrate Matariki: by partnering with renowned Māori astronomer, Dr Rangi Matamua, to include a feature that shows the nine Matariki stars in objects found in people’s everyday life.

Since it’s launch it has been downloaded over 177,000 thousand times, with 2.7m images translated and 5m word pronunciations played. Given today’s increasing reliance on virtual tools, Kupu’s presence again in Te WIki o Te Reo Māori is nothing short of timely. 


Also focusing on online events, NZTE has organised a broad range of online initiatives and resources for both their staff and the wider public. Each initiative has been designed to promote how Te Reo is shared, used, and fit for purpose in daily life. These include:

  • Te Kete Māori App

    A standout development is their newly created Te Kete Maori app, designed to introduce both NZTE’s staff and the public to the Te Ao Māori (Māori worldview). It includes tools to improve pronunciation, guide karakia, and learn waita and marae protocol.

  • Everyday learning & resources

    Daily ’Tiki Emails’ will be circulated daily, containing phrases and Te Reo quizzes, alongside videos, waita, proverbs and resources. These will also direct staff to additional educational opportunities, like Ngāti Whatua’s Te Reo Māori for Business Webinar, which takes place every Wednesday in September. Additionally, infographics and social media videos have been created for staff to use as they please.

  • Digital posters across global offices

    Digital posters with Māori to English word translations, greetings and karakia will also make appearances around NZTE’s offices. NZTE’s global offices have been provided templates for them to use and adapt into their own languages.


SkyCity’s week-long celebration involves opportunities for both staff and the wider public to celebrate Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori: 

  • Auckland Sky Tower lighting, 14-20 September

    Auckland’s iconic Sky Tower will be lit up with rainbow colours, inspired by Maori Language Week’s Hei Tiki logo colours. This will be paired with a projection of Te Taura Whiri Hei Tiki (Te Wiki o Te Reo’s logo design) on the tower’s southern side.

  • Māori Language Moment: Staff Zoom Lesson with Te Roopu Māori o Skycity

    SkyCity’s Māori Language Moment celebration involves inviting all staff to attend a Zoom Language lesson led by their internal Māori Group, Te Roopu Māori o Skycity. Beginning on Monday’s Māori Language Moment, it will teach staff entry-level Te Reo in an interactive environment.

  • Staff Video

    Additionally, a fun video of staff using Te Reo Māori words, phrases, and fun sayings will be circulated internally and externally.


PwC and their Maukura Māori Business team are also celebrating with a week-long learning programme. Beginning with Monday’s Māori Language Moment from 12-12.30pm, PwC is hosting a series of daily lunchtime learning sessions, which focus on the applications of Te Reo Māori in a range of everyday situations.

Participating staff have the opportunity to virtually join together from all five offices across the country to participate the following sessions:

  • Monday: Joining together to commemorate Māori Language Moment, the 1972 petition delivered to Parliament calling for Te Reo Māori to be protected.
  • Tuesday: Learning basic phrases for everyday use
  • Wednesday: Learning the national anthem in Te Reo Māori
  • Thursday: Learning how to order your favourite coffee or drink in Te Reo Māori
  • Friday: a fun quiz to test and reflect on the skills and knowledge gained from the week

In the spirit of continuous learning, each of these Māori Language Moments will be recorded and displayed on their ‘Currents Page for future reference and learning.


Following the philosophy that every transaction can help you learn Te Reo, BNZ’s Māori Language Week initiatives also include both staff and the wider community as they focus on phrases that can be used both for online and in-person transactions.

  • Social media language videos, featuring BNZers who have begun their Te Reo learning journey.
  • Te Reo Placements on Trade Me, encouraging New Zealanders to incorporate Te Reo in their feedback and transactions.
  • Messaging on the BNZ app, at ATMs, and at branches to encourage customers to change their language settings to Te Reo.

Radio partnership campaigns to keep an ear out for: 

  • Mai FM’s Te Reo Timer

    A caller will be read a list of different prizes while live on air (such as a laptop, holiday, smartphone and groceries) in Te Reo. They will have to say “kati” (stop) when they hear the prize they would like to win before the timer runs out. Whichever prize they land on they win.

  • George FM’s Te Kianga E Utu Ana (The Phrase that Pays)

    Updating an existing segment of the show to feature uniquely Te Reo, the Te Reo-fluent announcers Kara Rickard and Tammy Davis will announce their phrase of the day in Te Reo. When that phrase is integrated into their natural chat on air, the first listener to call through on 0800 FM GEORGE will win themselves a special Te Wiki o te Reo Maori George FM & BNZ hoodie.


About Ava Wardecki – Ava channels her love of storytelling into writing and as a director of a social media company. With a background in corporate branding, social media and public relations and a conjoint Marketing and Public Relations degree from AUT and HEC Paris, she’s worked across corporate, fashion, lifestyle and hospitality industries. Paris born and Auckland raised and a keen traveller, she’s passionate about how understanding and creating cultures that can inspire and evoke change.