This year marks the 41st annual celebration of Te Wiki o te reo Māori, Māori Language Week in Aotearoa, NZ. The Māori language commission, Te Taura Whiri i te reo Māori has set this year’s theme as ‘Akina te reo ‘, to support, inspire and encourage the use of te reo Māori – behind you all the way!
On the 7th of July, The National Army Museum celebrated Te Wiki o te reo Māori by hosting Ki Te Mata Toa te Pō, A Night at the Museum. During the evening Museum staff and local experts hosted kōrero, showcasing our various Taonga Māori and connected Māori stories. Local guests from the community in attendance were treated to a traditional Hāngī, prepared and cooked onsite by National Army Museum members of staff.
Taonga Māori featured during the night included our Roimata Pounamu, Tears on Greenstone Memorial alongside various items within our Māori weaponry collection. Personnel from the Waiouru military base entertained guests with stories of their journey to Gallipoli as members of the NZDF Kapahaka Group. Their tales touched upon the experience of sharing Māori culture with the local Turkish community and the spiritual connection they felt to the land and their ancestors who fought there. Descendants of servicemen from the 28th Māori Battalion spoke about the importance this connection played in their upbringing, and the sense of inherited identity and legacy which continues to influence their lives today. Each kōrero provided an opportunity to utilize te reo in understanding and celebrating the significance of our Taonga Māori and their immense value within the Museum’s collection.
The success of Ki Te Mata Toa te Pō, A Night at the Museum was facilitated with the help of the Waiouru Kapahaka Roopu, who supported each kōrero with selected waiata. Through encouraging guests to join in and have a go using te reo Māori in a fun and friendly environment, they played an invaluable role in embodying this year’s theme ‘Akina te reo’.
We believe embracing te reo Māori as an everyday means of communication at the Museum is an essential step in showcasing our Taonga Māori and the rich stories and worldview they convey. Ki Te Mata Toa te Pō marked the launch of a tradition which the National Army Museum Te Mata Toa hopes to continue and expand upon in the future.