Let's save the waka jumpers before it's too late

Let's save the waka jumpers before it's too late

I was lucky enough to grow up in a home that celebrated Te Reo Māori. My Kuia and Koroua on both my Mum and Dad's sides were native Te Reo Māori speakers. My Dad, Charlie, though born in the North, grew up in a small, Māori community in the Bay of Plenty, called Ruatoki. Te Reo Māori was the language at home and so he's what most would classify as a Native speaker.

My Mum, Ngareta, on the other hand, was like most of her generation. Pākeha was the language at home, Te Reo Māori was only really spoken and heard at our marae. When my Mum reached university, her world opened up to some of the greatest minds Maoridom has seen, like Dr Ranginui Walker and Hone and Heeni Green. It was there that her reo journey began - and it's never stopped since then.

There has been huge criticism over a video created by Hahana, a rangatahi online show. The video was supposed to be a 'tongue in cheek' satire video ala Taika Waititi, questioning the use of Te Reo.

Did they miss their mark? They've admitted they did, and by some of the social media posts, they missed it big time.

But it's clear their intent was never to be malicious or critical about Te Reo Māori. They've been making rangatahi content for several years now, growing a following over 100k on Facebook.

Those of us that are on our reo journeys know it's no easy feat, it is for most, a lifelong commitment. Aswell as our individual journeys, we are also on a journey as a collective, as a people and as a society to normalise Te Reo Māori.


The creators and young people involved in making the Hahana video are too on their own journey - but we shouldn't throw them off the waka just because they made a mistake, should we?

A lesson we can take away from this can be summed up in this whakatauki. E ai ki tētahi o ōku ihopūmanawa, ki a Ahorangi Wharehuia Milroy "Ko te whakaiti te whare o te whakaaro nui" - in english it means "Humility and service is the home of compassion"

The Hahana video creators have humbled themselves and apologised, they've continued making content to serve their community - so why can't we in turn show them some compassion and accept that people make mistakes?

Social media is a slippery slope - if you get it wrong, you're judged by the court of public opinion. So lets learn a lesson, move on and continue to celebrate our reo just like Pere Wihongi - who got it right - with his song 'Mahuru'.

Ripeka x