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Council receives Maori language accolade

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Rotorua Lakes Council was named a winner at this year’s Māori Language Awards for work delivered by its Te Amorangi ki Mua, Te Hāpai ō Ki Muri Unit.

The event hosted by Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori (Māori Language Commission) was held at Te Papa Tongarewa in Wellington on Friday. (23 November 2018)

Council was vying for the Kāwanatanga | Government award category sponsored by Te Puni Kōkiri.

With support from Te Tatau o Te Arawa chair, Te Taru White, Council’s Kaitiaki Ahurea Māori, Monty Morrison, and Customer Solutions’ Licensing Officer, Tia Tuahine, accepted the award.

"It was a surprise to win the award given the competition for the category. We were competing with some strong contenders, the Environment Protection Authority and the New Zealand Qualification Authority. We are elated Te Amorangi has been recognised as a winner at this year’s event," he says.

Te Amorangi Unit is a virtual team made up of staff from across Council and has created bicultural capability development programmes to support colleagues to advance Council in biculturalism.

Programmes include:

- Noho Marae (Marae stays) for staff to attend a two day programme at various Marae in Rotorua where they learn in areas such as:

o Te Tiriti (The Treaty of Waitangi)

o History about Te Arawa and the Fenton Agreement which founded the township of Rotorua; and

o Te reo Māori

- Two Council reo Māori classes held once a week at Council (A beginners class and an advance class)

- A one on one Māori Language programme for customer service advisors to enable them to confidently engage with members of the public in Māori

- A free community reo class run, in partnership with Toi Ohomai which facilitates the classes, at Council

- Council job titles have been translated

- A public waiata mai (Māori song) class is held once a month at the Rotorua Library

- He Aka Pikirangi, a weekly total reo Māori immersion session for pre-schoolers run by Rotorua Library

"Clearly, winning this award recognises Te Amorangi and the work that’s being achieved by our staff to advance in their bicultural journey. It also demonstrates the Council’s executive team support and our collaborative commitment to Rotorua Reorua," says Mr Morrison.

Te Tatau o Te Arawa chair, Te Taru White, is thrilled by the win saying it’s an accolade to the work done by Council and its staff.

"I think it was a great night against some strong competition with big resources, where little old Rotorua got in the middle and won it. Te Amorangi is part of a bigger drive, Rotorua Reorua, which promotes our partnership with Council," he says.

Council’s Kaiwhakahaere Māori, Gina Rangi, says the organisation is traversing new terrain as a bicultural district.

"Our staff genuinely want to do a good job and the challenge is that we’re often working in spaces where there are no precedents or existing models. For example working with Mātauranga Māori experts (Māori knowledge experts) to develop new wastewater treatment systems. Another example is the new Reserve Management Plan for Hannah’s Bay Reserve, which was developed with manawhenua and community groups. It will not always be easy but the aim is to maintain integrity and listen to our community. That’s why Te Amorangi exists, to support our colleagues," she says.

Ms Rangi says although there is still work to do the accolade is recognition that we are on the right track.

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