30 Jul 2010

'Complete change' seen in acceptance of te reo

9:15 pm on 30 July 2010

As Te Wiki o Te Reo Maori (Maori Language Week) ends for another year, Whale Rider star Rawiri Paratene says that over the past 40 years Aotearoa has completely changed in its acceptance of the Maori language.

As an 18-year-old in 1972 the Ngapuhi actor took part in Nga Tamatoa's protest on the steps of Parliament which set in motion the Maori language revival.

He told Waatea News it began with small steps such as getting television newsreaders to say "Kia ora".

"That was met with huge, huge objection," Mr Paratene says. "One of the most amazing objections was to hearing a foreign language on our television sets - and I couldn't believe that that was the status Maori language had been given by the general public."

Rawiri Paratene says he has made a commitment to his grandchildren to improve his ability to speak Maori.