Māori Language Week: How simple steps are exposing young minds to Te Reo

During the course of Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori (Māori Language Week), you might have heard the term Maihi Karauna.

It's an ambitious goal to have 1 million New Zealanders speaking some form of Te Reo by 2040.

"We don't expect everyone to be fluent overnight but we want to be able to create an environment that supports New Zealanders to connect to the language, use the language, see the language and hear the language where possible," said Victoria University deputy vice-chancellor of Māori Rawinia Higgins.

Environments like Gumboots Daycare in Helensville, where mostly Pakeha preschoolers are being taught by mostly Pakeha teachers in the basics of Te Reo. 

"The kids are amazing! They pick it up really fast and are really open to it learning new things. And they love it," teacher Louise Samuels told Newshub.

And it's through karakia, waiata and simple instructions that are exposing young minds to the language.

With Te Reo teaching resources so stretched, it's going to take buy-in from all New Zealanders to ensure the language flourishes.

So what's in it for these young ones to continue that journey? The experts say it's all about identity.

"In a very small global community where everything is accessible we find that need to stand out amongst the crowd and Te Reo Māori helps us do that because it is very much tied to our identity as New Zealanders," Higgins told Newshub.

And if that happens over the next couple of decades, we're going to need to find a bigger maunga.