William Waiirua encourages any adoption of te reo Māori after Kiri Allan hits out at 'tokenistic' use

  • 15/06/2022

AM's roving reporter William 'Waiirua' Cribb says he encourages the adoption of te reo Māori whenever possible, in light of a Government minister hitting out at its "tokenistic" use.

Wairrua said during Wednesday's show he supports anyone using te reo as much as they can and when they can.

"I'm always for it," Waiirua said on AM.

It comes after Kiri Allan, who was until this week Conservation Minister, was forced to clarify an email sent from a Department of Conservation (DoC) manager - which claimed she wanted English words used in most circumstances.

The email, which was subsequently posted on Twitter, said Allan didn't want to see te reo words used unless there was no English equivalent and the whole document was in te reo. 

But Allan quickly clarified the email was "very wrong".

"[It is] an incorrect articulation of any direction I've provided and is absolutely inaccurate. FWIW [for what it's worth], I encourage Te Reo use but in no way will I tolerate tokenistic use of reo by govt agencies as an attempt to show govt depts are culturally competent," she said on Twitter.

However, Waiirua said he embraced any use of te reo Māori.

"For me, I do it all the time - my Māori isn't the best, my reo isn't the best so I encourage people to use Māori whenever they can."

He said his friends, who are fluent in te reo Māori, love watching him use the little pieces of the language he does know.

"They really love it and they encourage people to really take it on and give it a go."

His advice to those wanting to learn te reo was to "get in there and try it".