In te Ao Māori, and in many instances of language transmission globally, it is the honour and the burden of Māori women to instil te reo in their children. In a time characterised by efforts to revitalise te reo in Aotearoa, this is a responsibility that should be shared by both men and women.
Traditionally it is a woman’s duty is because the mother is historically the parent constantly in contact with the child, especially in the home where the majority of language transmission occurs. Now it is much more common for the father to be the main parent as women have gained more equality rights, such as empowerment to enter the workforce—even as a mother.
The ‘roles’ of men and women are now less defined, they have become more flexible allowing for a truer reflection of our modern world. I hope this growing societal norm will filter more thoroughly into aspects of Māori culture, like the attempts to preserve our reo.
The embedding and teaching of te reo me ona tikanga is of paramount importance to ngai Māori. Te reo carries with it our intrinsic cultural values, our histories, our stories, our whakapapa, and our identity. It’s the core pillar upon which our entire culture rests and must be cared for and passed on by not only our women, but also our men.
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I te ao Māori, otirā tēnei ao hurihuri ka riro mā ngā whaea te pikau o te tukuihotanga o te reo hei kawe. He hōnore, ā, he taimahatanga anō hoki. Kei te kite atu tātou i te nui me te rahi o ngā mahi whakarauora reo i ēnei rangi, ā, nā runga i tērā ko tāku kia kaua e waiho mā ngā māmā anake te reo hei whāngai atu ki ngā tamariki, engari mā ngā pāpā anō hoki. I ngā rā o mua ko te whaea tērā ka nohotahi atu ki āna tamariki, koirā te take matua ka riro māna tēnei pīkau hei kawe. Waihoki, he maha ngā wā ka nohotahi atu te māmā ki āna tamariki ki te kāinga, ā, koinei te wāhi matua ka kite atu tātou i te tukuihotanga o tētahi reo mai i tētahi reanga ki tētahi atu. Ināianei, he māori te kite atu i ngā pāpā e tū ana hei mātua matua nā te mea kua whai mana taurite ake ngā wāhine, pērā i te whai mahi ahakoa te pōtae o Māmā. Kua pīngore haere te mahi tāne, te mahi wāhine i ngā tau kua pahure, ā, ka whakaatu pono mai tērā i te ao ā mohoa noa nei e karapoti ana i a tātou. Ko te whakaako me te whakatangata whenuahia i te reo Māori me ōna tikanga he mea whakamiramira rawa atu ki a ngāi Māori. Ka kawea hoki e te reo Māori ā tātou tikanga, ngā hītori, ngā pūrākau, te whakapapa me te tuakiri o te tangata. “Ko te reo te poutāwha e iri ai ngā taonga katoa a ō tātou mātua tipuna”, ā, ehara mā ngā wāhine anake, engari mā ngā wāhine me ngā tāne kē.