Why these Aucklanders spend their nights learning Te Reo Maori

Photography/ Vicki Leopold

For nightclass students learning Te Reo Māori in their spare time, every week is Māori Language Week.

It’s been three decades since Te Reo Māori became an official language of New Zealand.  Yet the total number of people speaking Te Reo has continually decreased since 2001. What is the place of Te Reo Māori in modern New Zealand, and how do we go about saving it? Rotorua has just become New Zealand’s first bilingual city; should Auckland follow suit?

At Unitec’s Mount Albert Campus, hundreds of Māori and non-Māori students turn up to free classes every weeknight to do their bit to help Te Reo Māori thrive. We asked a few of them why they are studying the language, and what they gain from doing so.


Ka mihi ki a takuta Lyonel Grant, te ohu raranga me wana kaitautoko katoa. Me nga mihi ki te ahika o Te Marae o Te Noho Kotahitanga i whakaae mai kia whakaatu i nga whakaahua nei.

Paperboy happily acknowledges the work of Lyonel Grant, the weavers, his support team and Te Noho Kotahitanga for allowing use of images of the whare at Unitec.

To find out more about Unitec’s free night classes in Te Reo Māori, visit unitec.ac.nz/maori. Māori Language Week runs 11–17 September, 2017.