Regional | Te Reo Māori

Northland Whai kōrero competition puts adults in the spotlight

How would the motu feel about a manu kōrero competition for adults?

That’s the question put forward by Te Kupenga Reo in Northland, which has been holding whai kōrero competitions this week in celebration of Māori Language Week.

Eight speakers ran the gauntlet, with Kaikohe’s Rēhia Rāmeka taking out the top spot and local councillor Penetauī Kleskovic taking a very respectable third place.

Organiser and competitor Ngāhuia Harawira says this was an opportunity to put adults in the hot seat. She says the idea to hold whai kōrero competitions was about creating a space for te reo Māori.

“We throw our students and kids in front of the judges, Maybe it’s time we let the adults feel the heat.”

“Those of us in this generation are continuing to come up with ways to feed the next generation.”

‘Deep affection’ for te reo

Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Tūtūtarakihi principal Jonelle Popata, who placed second, says te reo is important to the health and wellbeing of her rohe.

“This is an important event. We here in Northland and in the Far North have a deep affection for our language.”

But what was the pool of judges looking for?

According to Judge Mike Te Wake, the criteria were rigid and the standard was high.

“We want to hear the speaker’s wit and the speaker’s ability to articulate their chosen subject, there are many things.”