This post was originally published at The Daily Blog on 5 July 2013.
It’s that time of year when whitey complains about the fact that New Zealand is home to a unique indigenous language, and the best efforts of past whiteys has failed to eliminate it, and now we actually dare to treat it like a valuable thing which should be promoted, all to mess with the minds of tiny white babies who will get confused if they’re told there’s more than one way to say “three”.
By which I mean to say, it’s Māori Language Week.
Linguist Nathan Albury has a column in the Dominion Post hoping that we’re going to get a proper Māori language strategy which keeps te reo alive. But that doesn’t let us individual Pākehā off the hook, people.
Here’s some suggestions from Te Taura Whiri i te reo Māori – the Māori Language Commission.
Learn the 100 Māori words every New Zealander should know (and when you’re done there’s 365 additional words and phrases)
Download some resources for your office like bilingual signs
… and whenever you hear people bagging the promotion of te reo, or whinging that their children shouldn’t have to learn some Foreign Devil Tongue, remind them, using as many cusswords as you like, that te reo is unique to New Zealand, that it makes New Zealand English unique, that language learning does awesome things to your brain, and that it’s no more useless a bit of knowledge than all that fucking trigonometry we were forced to do at school.
Tragically, Nickolodeon is no longer hosting the video of the te reo Spongebob Squarepants episode they did for 2009, but here’s an interview with the voice actor!