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Nau mai haere mai ki te wiki o te reo Māori

As this week is Māori Language Week it is a great opportunity to acknowledge and thank Keri Opai and Te Pou o te Whakaaro Nui for the careful work in developing Te Reo Hāpai, a glossary of te reo Māori terms in the mental health, addiction and disability sectors.

Keri has worked carefully with our elders and disabled people to develop a glossary that is strength-based and reflects modern concepts of disability, mental health and additions.

Nga mihi Keri and all those who have supported you in this important mahi.

In the words of Keri...

He mana tō te kupu – Words have great power

When I began this project, creating Te Reo Hāpai – The Language of Enrichment , the question I was asked mostly was – why? Why create a glossary of te reo Māori terms for use in the mental health, addiction and disability sectors? He aha te painga? – What is the benefit?

My answer was “He mana tō te kupu” – “Words have great power” - a whakataukītanga kōrero (proverbial saying) that our tauheke (elder) of Taranaki, Huirangi Waikerepuru, would often quote. Words have the power to explain, express and define how we understand and experience the world. If our knowledge and use of words is limited, inappropriate, outdated or unclear, this can be inherently conveyed in communicating our understandings and experiences.

Te Reo Hāpai is about enriching language, including ‘words of great power’ in te reo from a strengths base and a mana enhancing Māori worldview for the benefit of tāngata whai ora.

Wherever possible, Te Reo Hāpai combines the lived experience of tāngata whai ora and tāngata whaikaha with clinician and practitioner input. Feedback, information and guidance has also been provided by an expert advisory panel in creating over 200 interpretations for the unique terminology used by the mental health, addiction and disability sectors.

Te Reo Hāpai is by no means a comprehensive word list. More te reo research and creation in these sectors is urgently needed to continue to enhance language used. Space is available in this resource for readers to note iwi, rohe and kaumātua variations and contribute to future growth of Te Reo Hāpai – The Language of Enrichment.

I hope this is useful e hoa mā!

Tēnā rā koutou katoa.

Nāku noa nei

Nā Keri

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