Chile and Aotearoa strengthening reo revitalisation together

Shared experience between Chile and Aotearoa for revitalising indigenous languages will benefit both countries.

Published: Tuesday, 22 August 2023 | Rātū, 22 Hereturikōkā, 2023

Tōku reo, tōku ohooho

Tōku reo, tōku māpihi maurea

Tōku reo, tōku whakakai marihi


Shared experience between Chile and Aotearoa for revitalising indigenous languages will benefit both countries, says Te Puni Kōkiri Regional Director - Te Tai Hauāuru Jess Smith (Te Atihaunui ā Pāpārangi, Ngāti Tamakōpiri, Ngāi Tahu, Ngāti Kahungunu).

Earlier this month, Te Puni Kōkiri kaimahi in Te Whanganui-a-Tara hosted a delegation from Chile, which included Ministry of Education of Chile Intercultural Bilingual Education Programme National Coordinator Felino Andres Garcia Choque, and representatives from the Embassy of Chile.

Kaimahi from different puni within Te Puni Kōkiri shared their knowledge and experience in revitalising te reo Māori through a broad range of initiatives, such as the Government’s Maihi Karauna strategy, that are helping to strengthen the language.

While Spanish is widely spoken throughout Chile, there are also numerous indigenous languages that need support to grow.

Jess Smith said it was a privilege to host the Chilean delegation.

“It was a great opportunity for both groups to learn and share each other’s experience for strengthening our languages,” Jess said.

“Indigenous languages hold a wealth of knowledge within their unique ability to enable us understand the world from a fresh perspective.”

Jess last visited Chile as part of New Zealand’s 2019 APEC Food Security team, which focused on rural development through the lens of indigenous communities and their agribusinesses.

“It’s these opportunities for international collaboration that remind us how much we have to learn from each other.”

One of the Te Puni Kōkiri key strategic focus areas involves supporting the growth of a healthy and vibrant Te Reo Māori me ōna tikanga with a specific focus on modernising the Māori media and broadcasting sector.

Te Puni Kōkiri Principal Advisor – Māori Capability Aaron Munro shares his experience learning te reo Māori as a second language.

Te Puni Kōkiri Principal Advisor – Māori Capability Aaron Munro (Ngāti Kahungunu ki Te Wairoa, Ngāti Konohi) said the visit was all about looking at ways to revitalise the various Chilean dialects, such as through improved education.

“We also talked to them about the key things that ensured te reo Māori was officially recognised in Aotearoa, such as the Te Reo Māori Act 1987, the introduction of kōhanga reo and kura kaupapa Māori, and through to iwi radio and Māori TV.”

Kaimahi illustrated the revitalisation of the language through their own experiences.

Aaron talked about “being a second language learner in the early-1980s and the opportunities I didn’t have because te reo Māori hadn't been made an official language until 1987”.

Others spoke of their experience having reo Māori as a first language, and the benefits of being brought-up in kōhanga reo and kura kaupapa.

Top photo caption: Te Puni Kōkiri kaimahi from different departments including Regional Policy and Operations, Policy Partnerships, and Organisational Support, hosted a delegation from Chile keen to share experience about the revitalization of Te Reo Māori.