Two appointments to Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori board – e māhorahora ai te reo

“Ehara taku toa i te toa takitahi. Engari taku toa, he toa takitini”

E mihi ana ki ngā toa mō te reo Māori puta noa i te motu, ko rātau tērā e whakapeto ngoi ao te pō, pō te ao e ora ai te reo Māori ki ō tātau kāinga, ki runga i ō tātau marae, ki roto i ō tātau hapori tonu. Tēnei hoki te mihi ki Te Whare o Te Reo Mauriora e tāwharau ana i Te Maihi Karauna me Te Maihi Māori, ā, ko te reo te take!

Māori Development Minister Willie Jackson has announced the reappointment of Dr Jeremy Tātere MacLeod and the appointment of Te Atamira Jennifer Ward-Lealand to the board of Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori, the Māori Language Commission.

The Commission promotes the use of Māori as a living language and as a means of everyday communication. This includes coordinating the implementation of the Crown's Māori Language Strategy, Maihi Karauna, which sets out what actions the government will prioritise to move towards this vision.

Current board member, Dr Jeremy Tātere McLeod (Ngāti Kahungunu, Te Arawa, Ngāti Raukawa te au ki te Tonga, Rangitāne) has been reappointed for a three-year term.

Dr McLeod has 15 years of governance and Māori language revitalisation experience in iwi, community, and private sector organisations, and is a recognised champion for Te Reo revitalisation, especially within his iwi Ngāti Kahungunu

“Both Dr MacLeod and Ms Ward-Lealand possess the skills and experience to help strengthen the revitalisation of reo Māori for the benefit of everyone in Aotearoa and I’m proud to make these appointments,” Minister Jackson said.

In 2020, Ms Ward-Lealand was named Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year. The well-known actor and director was previously made a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to film, theatre, and television in the 2019 New Year Honours List.

In 2017, former Māori Language Commissioner Tā Timoti Kāretu and the late Professor Te Wharehuia Milroy gifted Ms Ward-Lealand the name Te Atamira in recognition of her support and long-time commitment to Te Reo Māori.

“I am thrilled with the new appointment of Te Atamira Jennifer Ward-Lealand to the board of Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori” said Tā Timoti Kāretu.

“This is in line with Koro Wetere’s vision of including pākeha on the board to ensure the survival of Te Reo Māori” said Tā Timoti.

With over 20 years of governance experience from within the creative arts sector, she is also a founding board member of the Watershed Theatre and a co-founder of The Large Group and The Actors’ Program.

“Ms Ward-Lealand is a taonga of Aotearoa performing arts. Her commitment and aroha for te reo Māori in everyday life has shone through her many great achievements,” Minister Jackson said.

Today’s appointments will ensure Te Taura Whiri I te Reo Māori remains in a strong position to support the audacious goals of the Maihi Karauna strategy. The goals to be achieved by 2040 include: 85% of New Zealanders (or more) will value te reo Māori as a key part of national identity; one million New Zealanders (or more) will have the ability and confidence to talk about at least basic things in te reo Māori, and 150,000 Māori aged 15 and over will use te reo Māori as much as English.

Minister Jackson thanks outgoing board member, Wayne Panapa (Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Whatua, Waikato-Maniapoto), for his great contribution to the revitalisation of reo Māori and services to te ao Māori.