More and more content creators are trying to learn and revive “te reo Maori” on social media, which is an indigenous language spoken by only a quarter of the Maori population in New Zealand.
Known as “te reo” in New Zealand [la langue]In the 19th century, with the arrival of white settlers in Europe, the Maori language began to decline.electronic century. It was threatened with extinction in the 1950s, but the movement of Maori elders and government initiatives in the 1970s saw a resurgence. Now also thanks to social networks, the language and culture of Maori have experienced a resurgence of interest and popularity.
“I am always looking for innovative ways to promote language”
In his TikTok account, Sonny Ngatai is one of its promoters. In the Observer Project, he explained how he taught subscribers to learn Maori phrases:
I am a strong supporter of the revitalization of “te reo maori”. I am always looking for innovative ways to celebrate and promote this language. My video is a small introduction, and I hope to encourage some of my subscribers to be interested in my native language. As far as I am concerned, I have benefited a lot from the speech. Maori radio and television made me want to share these videos. I am very lucky because I am reaping the fruits of the work done by people who struggled for languages many years ago.
“We are at a turning point where people are beginning to see the value of language”
Our editors also talked with Hemi Kelly, who teaches “te reo maori” at Auckland University of Technology, and talked through his “Phrase a Day” video on Facebook:
I first post videos occasionally on Instagram, and then it becomes more and more popular. Success may be due to timing: I started during the pandemic, and people who want to learn languages have time to do it. I think social media is a tool that we can use to spread language to anyone who wants to learn it, whether they are Maori or not.
In our hometown, language and language are deeply connected. Language can help us better understand the birds, trees, places and people of our country.
I think this also allows non-Maori living in New Zealand to better understand where they live and their history. For Maori, this is an expression of our identity and culture. My videos also aroused interest outside of New Zealand: they were viewed in Japan, the United States and Europe. In the past, this language did not receive its due value, or did not receive proper recognition. But this situation is beginning to change.
We are at a turning point when people are beginning to understand the value and importance of language.
Approximately 25% of New Zealand Maori say “te reo Maori” at an intermediate level. Only 9% of people speak fluently. Among non-Maori in New Zealand, only 1% of residents speak this language.