Every person who took part in this year’s historic Māori Language Moment is a joint winner of the Supreme 2020 Māori Language Award.

“More than one million people joined us during Māori Language Week to take part in what is now the biggest Māori language event in history. Each of them is now a Ngā Tohu Reo Māori Award winner,” said Ngahiwi Apanui, Māori Language Commission chief executive.

“There are no losers when it comes to learning and speaking te reo Māori; this year we celebrate more than one million language champions from across Aotearoa and around the world.”

We changed how we do things to respond to COVID-19: and New Zealanders turned that crisis into a landmark, virtual celebration.”

“We have an audacious goal to have one million Māori language speakers by 2040: the winners of this year’s Māori Language Awards have shown us that our audacious goal is an achievable goal.”

Commission representatives were at Upper Hutt School today to present students and staff with a neon Hei Tiki light. Organisations and individuals who recruited the most people to take part in the moment have been recognised this week. All those who registered to take part will receive certificates in coming weeks.

The Maori Language Commission has redesigned Ngā Tohu Reo Māori so that this year, whether we are in lockdown or not: New Zealanders can come together to celebrate te reo Māori.

The commission confirmed it would not host major face-to-face gatherings in 2020, meaning Māori Language Week parades and the Māori Language Awards Dinner would be replaced with virtual events.

Honour the past, keep ourselves safe now and prepare for the future together!

Keep the Māori language strong!