Te Wiki o te Reo Māori kicked off today, and while nearly one-third of New Zealanders can speak some te reo words and phrases, it may not be the full picture.
People are turning to TikTok and Instagram to learn the language, meaning there may be thousands more not being captured in the data.
One person who took to social media to learn te reo is musician Amy Maynard.
“For me, looking and just reading something, it doesn’t stick and I was like, ‘I can’t remember these’ and I was like, ‘What if I use all of the knowledge that I already have as a musician?'” she told 1News.
“This is how I can learn how to speak te reo Māori easier for me, you know. And it all started with “A-ha-ka-ma-na-pa-ra-ta-wa-nga-wha.”
Statistics New Zealand says for the first time in its data, it’s recorded a “significant increase” in the proportion of fairly proficient te reo Māori speakers.
Tūhoe artist and activist Tame Iti was among those at Parliament 50 years ago to deliver the Māori Language Petition.
“Kua rereke te ahuatanga i nga rima tekau tau inaianei. Kua aro nui nga tangata (Things have changed so much over the last 50 years. People are a lot more willing),” he said.