Duncan Garner: Māori Language Week is great, but it's not enough

OPINION: If you hadn't noticed, it's Māori language week, Te Wiki o te Reo Māori.

I'm proud that this network has signed up as an official partner with Te Māngai Paho. Thanks to them for their help and support.

All this week you've heard and seen more te reo Māori than you did last week - it's a conscious decision. 

It's an official language. It's uniquely ours. To those who say what's the point? Well, if we don't at least attempt to keep this alive you will never get it back once it's lost. 

Do we really want that? 

There are 6500 languages spoken globally every day. 

Yet 90 percent of those languages are predicted to be extinct by 2050. 

The last language to go was during COVID-19. On April the 4th, in India, the language Aka Cari, the language of those who live on the Andaman Islands, officially died. 

Aboriginal languages are dying too across the Tasman.

So, let's proudly protect what makes us different and what makes us unique. 

But here's the challenge I reckon as we return to 'normal' next week. 

Māori Language Week is great, but it's not enough.

I'm for the revival of the language, it's a taonga. 

If you have no language you barely have an identity.  

It needs greater respect than a one week approach.

We have a go, then we move on to next year. It's no way to learn anything. 

Knowing and using the greeting kia ora doesn't make us fluent, but we we are seeing more words creep into daily life kai, puku, ka pai, mahi and this is great.

So use this week as a springboard.

Don't dump what you learn this week.

Why not take it into next week and the week after? 

Commit to it. Be proud of it. 

It's ours. no one else's.

My two girls are fluent te reo and English speakers. I'm fiercely proud of them.

If we don't protect this treasure, no one will

It's unique and uniquely ours. 

And to Barry, Bob and Wayne who are angry and threatened and sent me emails this week: Don't fear a language, fear what you can't see and hear - there is so much more to worry about than this.

Ka Pai.

Duncan Garner hosts The AM Show.