A clip of a toddler bursting into tears over wanting to speak English instead of te reo Māori is a serving as a difficult reminder how important it is to celebrate the language.
In a TikTok clip posted by Kahurangi Malcolm, the young boy's eyes filled with tears as he said: “I don’t like te reo Māori, I only like the English language.”
“But all your family and friends speak Māori,” his mother replied.
Getting increasingly upset, he begged his family to set up the TV to watch English-speaking shows.
“It’s sad. It’s hard to see and hear,” his mother wrote in the caption alongside the video.
“He is noticing more and more that the world around him is in English and he feels like he’s missing out,” she continued.
“We have done our best to provide a strong bubble of Māori speakers around our kids but they still know the ‘outside’ world is in English.”
“We don’t stop him from asking questions or watching/reading English things BUT we need Te Reo Māori to be seen and heard across Aotearoa so our Māori speaking kids don’t feel like this ,” Kahurangi added.
It’s vital for the next generation of tamariki to understand and hold the value of Te Reo.
One commenter agreed writing: “It’s just phase, you guys have done the best job raising to speak fluent Te reo Maori, as he starts kura and notices he’s actually got a gift a lot of Tamariki don’t have he will look back and ma & pa and realise why 😍 this is bittersweet but it’s also beautiful.”
“He's gonna grow up and be so grateful he can speak both ❤️🩹,” said another.
While a third echoed: “He’s growing up with more te reo māori than some of us have ever known🤍. He will be forever grateful when he’s older.”
“This is what they should show National,” wrote a fourth, referring to the recent policies revealed by the new coalition government, many of which are receiving heavy backlash for their impact on te ao Māori.
Just a few of the policies impacting Māori include:
Orders for government agencies to “provide services based on need, not race”.
The Coalition Government does not recognise the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) as having any binding legal effect on New Zealand.
Legislate to make English an official language of New Zealand.
Ensure all public service departments have their primary name in English, except for those specifically related to Māori.
Require the public service departments and Crown entities to communicate primarily in English - except those entities specifically related to Māori.
Abolish the Māori Health Authority Te Aka Whai Ora
In response to the policies, one wāhine took it upon herself to stick one to the new government by blasting Poi E outside Parliament.
Not long after, award-winning actress Rena Owen gave a powerful nod to her tupuna, Te Ruki Kawiti - who signed Te Tiriti o Waitangi back in 1840 - at the NZTV awards earlier this month.
“Hold strong,” was the key message of Rena's speech. Too right - Kia kaha te reo Māori!