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Netball NZ supports Te Wiki o te Reo Māori

‘Kia Kaha te Reo Māori’ is the theme given by the Māori Language Commission for Te Wiki o te Reo Māori, with an emphasis on making the Māori language strong.

Te Wiki o te Reo Māori (September 9-15) acknowledges and celebrates the te reo Māori as a taonga (treasure) for all New Zealanders.

The ethos at Poitarawhiti Aotearoa (Netball NZ) is every week is Māori language week, and it’s our duty to help normalise te reo Māori to the best of our abilities.

It’s our commitment to normalise te reo Māori through mainstream channels through the use of rua reo (dual languages), where it has now become common for players and officials to converse in te reo during introductions, speeches and interviews.

We strive to provide a safe environment for all players, teams, coaches, volunteers to speak te reo Māori.

Poitarawhiti Aotearoa acknowledges and supports the partnership of Te Wānanga o Raukawa and the Central Pulse. Since partnering with the kaupapa Māori tertiary education provider Te Wānanga o Raukawa three years ago, the Pulse have shown enormous benefit from embracing te reo and Māori cultural values through their own growth as a team.

The Pulse’s emotional haka after winning this year’s ANZ Premiership provided a public example, with the video becoming the league’s most viewed piece of content of all time on social media.

Netball World Cup winning Silver Fern Karin Burger, who originally hails from South Africa, said the experience of embracing another culture has made her feel infinitely more connected to her new home.

“I’ve got my own language that I speak as well (Afrikaans) and whenever a new language is introduced, with it comes the culture. I have experienced what it is like to be a Kiwi but it’s only since this has been introduced that I’ve really felt what the Māori side of New Zealand is like.

“I now have a clearer and better idea of what New Zealand is as a whole and the history behind it, having learnt a little bit of Māori culture and te reo. That has definitely made me feel more connected with being a Kiwi than I did before.”

Former Netball New Zealand Board member, IFNA and Oceania representative, national umpire and Gisborne Netball Centre President Tina Karaitiana is heartened and encouraged to see such positive progress.

A Netball New Zealand Board member at the time, Karaitiana was the instigator, in a trailblazing moment, when her submission of adding the Maori equivalent, Poitarawhiti Aotearoa, to the national body’s official title and logo was accepted in 2002.

“For me, netball has always been ahead of the game. Prior to Netball New Zealand including Poitarawhiti Aotearoa, there was nobody but after that others jumped on the waka.

“When we bought in Poitarawhiti Aotearoa to be included on their official title, we were the first sport in the country to accept and adopt a Māori translation for our brand. That was quite significant back then and just a reminder and a reflection of where Netball New Zealand is going and has gone.”

With netball currently the number one female sport for Māori in New Zealand, Karaitiana, who is of Ngāi Tuhoe and Ngāti Porou descent, believes the sport has acted as a positive vehicle in helping build and encourage the renaissance of te reo.

The Puni Reo Poitarawhiti app launched at Polyfest in 2018 uses idioms, words and directions specifically related to netball and teaches through gamification. Engaging for children, it is a centralised and standardised te reo resource with the differing language of players, coaches and umpires all pulled into one app.

Some Key Words in Te Reo

Poitarawhiti: Netball
Ngā Kaponga: Silver Ferns
Kaupapa: Collective vision
Team: Tima