Te Tai – Treaty Settlement Stories

Story: Te Mana o te Reo Māori

Teacher support material: Māori initiatives for language revitalisation

Teacher support material

Chapter 6: 1978–1985 Revitalisation initiatives

The sixth chapter of Te Mana o te Reo Māori gives students an overview of the period 1978–1985, a time when the movement to revitalise te reo Māori grew significantly.

Teacher support material: Māori initiatives for language revitalisation

During this decade, many Māori groups and individuals put pressure on the government for te reo Māori to be recognised as an official language. Iwi radio stations were established. It was also during this time that the kōhanga reo movement was established with the first kōhanga opened at Wainuiomata in Wellington in 1982.

Te Mana o te Reo Māori – Chapter 6

On this page, you’ll find materials to support your students as they learn about efforts to revitalise te reo Māori, including key focus questions, suggested activities, and language support.


Introducing this chapter

Start with a video

Chapter 6 of the digital story about Te Mana o te Reo Māori begins with a short video clip (19:30 mins) about Henrietta Maxwell, one of the pioneers of the kōhanga reo movement, and the establishment of kōhanga reo. Before watching the video, ask your students these questions to help them identify what they might already know about kōhanga reo:

  • Did any of them go to kōhanga reo or have siblings or cousins who went or go to kōhanga reo?
  • What happens at a kōhanga reo?
  • What do they think is different or special about kōhanga reo?

Henrietta Maxwell teaching at one of the early kōhanga reo in Wainuiomata (starts 10 min 42s in). Waka Huia TVNZ (YouTube)

Chapter 6 poster image

Quote printed on a card.

Card used by members of Ngā Kaiwhakapūmau i te Reo in government departments and similar organisations to highlight their wish to do business in te reo.
Image: Colin Feslier and Angela Belich

The Chapter 6 poster from the picture pack He Pūkei Whakaahua shows a card used by members of Ngā Kaiwhakapūmau i te Reo in government departments or similar organisations to highlight their wish to do business in te reo. This image also features in Chapter 6 of the digital story. The poster provides some key questions and information to introduce your students to this chapter. You can use this poster to facilitate discussions with your students about the actions that people took to push for the revitalisation of te reo Māori. You could also discuss contemporary activities like people screen printing t-shirts with ‘Kōrero Māori mai’ or creating cards or posters to put out during Māhuru Māori.

Additional resource components

There is further content available for students to explore this topic:

Key themes

This resource tells the history of the decline and revitalisation of te reo Māori with a focus on five themes from Te Takanga o te Wā.

Te Takanga o te Wā Māori History Guidelines Year 1–8 (Te Kete Ipurangi)

Here are some key questions that relate to each of these themes. These questions are intentionally broad so that students can explore them in multiple ways.

  • Whakapapa

    Tūpuna – Connections – Belonging – Identity – Culture – Community – Tikanga – Mana Whenua
  • Where do I fit in?
  • Do I know anyone who has been part of the kōhanga reo movement?
  • Tūrangawaewae

    Belonging – Identity – Culture – Community – Place – Continuity
  • Mana Motuhake

    Belonging – Identity – Mana – Controversy – Conflict – Consequences – Tino Rangatiratanga
  • Who established the kōhanga reo movement?
  • Why was the kōhanga reo movement established?
  • Kaitiakitanga

    Time – Context – Perspective – Knowledge – Tikanga – Guardianship
  • How many iwi radio stations are there? Māori radio – reo irirangi (Te Ara)
  • What iwi radio stations are accessible in my region?
  • Whanaungatanga

    Whānau – Hapū – Iwi – Whakapapa – Tūpuna – Connections – Community – Manaakitanga – Kotahitanga – Unity
  • Are there any kōhanga reo in my community?
  • What about Māori language immersion schools?
  • How are these schools different to my school?

Each of these themes provides a way for learners to connect with the history of te reo Māori. Keep an eye out for these icons to see how activities and content in these resources link to each of these themes.

Activities and learning experiences

Here are some suggested activities for your students.

Activity 1: He rārangi wā mō te whakarauoratanga o te reo Māori – A timeline for Māori language revitalisation

Themes: WhakapapaKaitiakitanga

Have a look at the timeline for Te Mana o te Reo Māori on Te Tai Whakaea.

Te Mana o te Reo timeline

See what events appear in the timeline between 1978 and 1985. Create a visual timeline showing key events that occurred during this period around the revitalisation of te reo Māori. Include events that are significant for your whānau, school, community, or region. You can present your findings as:

  • a visual poster or collage
  • a written report
  • a Google Slides presentation
  • a flow diagram.

Consider the following questions:

  • What process you will use to decide what to include in your timeline?
  • Whose perspectives and voices will be reflected in your timeline?

Activity 2: Akona he waiata – Learn a song

Theme: Kaitiakitanga

Chapter 6 of the digital story of Te Mana o te Reo Māori includes a video of the waiata "Whakarongo" by renowned composer Ngoingoi Pēwhairangi. This song is somewhat of an anthem for many Māori language speakers, and for the movement to revitalise te reo Māori.

"Whakarongo" lyrics – Tāmata Toiere

The video in Chapter 6 shows the actions that go with the words. Learn the words and actions to this song.

Once you have learnt the song, check out the short biography about the composer of this song, Ngoingoi Pēwharangi. Her story is one of the profiles featured in Te Mana o te Reo Māori.

Ngoi Pēwhairangi biography

Activity 3: He tuhinga taki – Recounting the establishment or Māori radio

Theme: Mana Motuhake

Imagine you are a reporter for a local newspaper or news programme and that you’ve been asked to do a feature article about the establishment of the first iwi radio station in Aotearoa or your region. Research your story. Find out where the first radio station was established, who established it, and why it was set up. Make sure you include some quotes in your story and an image (you can illustrate a picture to go with your story).

If you choose to do your article as a digital story or video, you may want to interview some people as part of your article. Consider who you might want to interview to help make the story engaging for the readers, listeners, or viewers. Present your story to your class.

Language support


reo irirangi

kōhanga reo
language nest

rārangi wā


Other resources

Downloads for this chapter