Congratulations to Blue who won 2nd place in the school competition. Ka wani ke koe Blue! Here is Blue's winning speech:-
If you are fluent in te reo maori, you are very fortunate and part of the lucky group, of 125,000 maori people and would most likely agree with this statement.But what if you're like me, part of the group of 600,000 maori people that can’t speak fluent te reo maori? Well, what does that make us, cultureless? Lost? Adrift for not knowing our indigenous language fluently? And what about the maori people who are born deaf, dumb or blind? Are they less maori, for not even being able to learn their own language? If you are fluent in te reo maori does that make you more maori than the 600,000 maori people who are suffering?
I agree with Dame Tariana Turia who says”"It's my whakapapa that determines who I am".
Like Dame Tariana Turia, I also feel the pain of not knowing te reo maori fluently.
But will you judge us for being colonized, colonized by the British in 1642. Robbed, robbed of our land from between 1860- and the year of 2000. Imprisoned, imprisoned like the people of parihaka, when they peacefully protested to keep their OWN land. Deceived, and cheated with different translation of the treaty of waitangi .And in the 1950’s where my koro was beaten for speaking te reo maori, my birth right was lost.
So will you judge us for not knowing our language fluently, and being less fortunate?
Te reo maori is a very special and unique language to me.
But, frankly, our whakapapa must be the cornerstone of our culture.
Our Whakapapa is
Something we can’t lose,
Our tupuna run through our blood
You can't separate our whakapapa from us
Our tupuna know us and they are part of us
Our tupuna are always with us and
They speak to our hearts
‘Ehara taku toa I te toa takitahi - engari he toa takitini ke!’
‘My strength/being is not that of one person – but of thousands!’
One day I will learn te reo maori fluently but I will not forget about the other 599,000 maori still in pain. And only when every maori is fluent in te reo, then it will be a cornerstone of our culture.
Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed.
Kia kaha, kia maia, kia manawanui.