11 Reasons Why You Should Learn the Māori Language

Why Te Reo Māori Is Opening Doors For Its Learners

“If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head.
If you talk to him in his own language, that goes to his heart.”
– Nelson Mandela

Learning about the people is widely advocated as the ideal way to adapt to a new culture. New Zealand is one of the best places to start by understanding more about the Māori culture, which has lived in the country for the longest.

The Painful History Of The Māori People

The early to mid-1300s saw the arrival of the Māori people, considered the native Polynesian population of New Zealand.

In 1840, New Zealand became a colony of Britain, and in the years that followed, the country’s identity underwent a significant change. The Pkeh (New Zealanders of European heritage) population increased significantly as a result of the waves of migrants that came. Land disputes brought tragic damages, made history, and the country’s culture was changed forever.

The proportion of Te Reo Māori speakers fell from 96% to 26% between the 1930s and the 1960s. They were subjected to racial discrimination and discouraged from studying or practising the Te Reo Māori language.

The Māori Renaissance

Thus, a Māori renaissance started as a result of widespread worries that the Māori might become extinct. Many schools decided to implement a bilingual curriculum that teaches Te Reo Māori and English. In addition, bilingual websites and a Māori language television channel were established, which gave individuals more motivation to continue using Te Reo Māori. Nevertheless, research published in 2014 revealed that the proportion of Māori speakers was continuing to decline and that only 25% of Māori are fluent Te Reo Māori speakers. Even after hundreds of years, the Māori culture, rich in arts and history, remains a significant part of New Zealand’s identity.

Te Reo Māori, the native tongue of Māori New Zealanders, has been disappearing from everyday life for a long time. However, the language is currently enjoying a rejuvenation, which is strengthening the Māori heritage in Aotearoa.

Why Learning Te Reo Māori Benefits You

Whereas in the past it was important for the language to survive, today the focus is on fostering its growth and sustainability. Increasing our knowledge and abilities in this area will have a significant positive impact on society and each of us individually. Regardless of the sector you work in, learning a second or third language can be quite advantageous for both your professional development and general well-being. At any age, learning a second language, such as Te Reo Māori, can aid in the development of various brain abilities. Speaking a second language in the 21st century is not only advantageous but also essential for success in life. As the global economy continues to expand, different communities and cultures are coming into increasingly frequent interaction with one another.

The distance barrier that formerly divided the world’s communities has been dismantled by the internet and the ease of international travel. The worldwide community has gotten more integrated and dependent on one another, from the business world to the individual consumer, from preschools to colleges, from beach vacationers to international jet setters. Higher education institutions closely review candidates to find potential future leaders. Businesses and employers are looking for candidates who can operate in the current global economy. People are looking for different ways to connect with different cultures and also find themselves in the process.

Here are some of the benefits of learning Te Reo Māori languages. And if you are interested to learn the language in the end, you can enrol yourself in one of Reo Ora’s courses.

1. Build Bonds with People

Perhaps the most satisfying aspect of being human is our potential to connect with others. An amazing gift is the ability to converse with someone in their language. In personal and professional life both, bilinguals have the rare pleasure to interact with a broader spectrum of people.

Knowing the Māori language makes you kinda like a native of the land and expands your horizons literally and figuratively. The Māori community will shape you. The generosity of strangers will humble you, helping you make pals for life.

2. Strengthen Your Connection With The Māori Culture

The closest link to other cultures is language. Understanding and appreciating the customs, beliefs, artistic expressions, and history of the people who speak a language are fostered by our ability to communicate in their language.

Studies demonstrate that children who have learned a second language are more open to and have more positive attitudes about the culture connected with the language, which fosters better tolerance, empathy, and acceptance of others.

3. Advance Your Career

When it comes to job possibilities in New Zealand, there is an increasing expectation (especially in government organisations) that employees will have a fundamental understanding of Te Reo Māori.

Additionally, there are positive stories of young Kiwis who, thanks to their familiarity with Māori, are well-suited to adapt to another language and culture abroad. As a result, students benefit socially through interacting with the Māori community while learning Te Reo, strengthening one of the five competencies in the New Zealand Curriculum (2007), namely ‘relating to others.’ This ability emphasises the value of communicating with a variety of people in several settings while acknowledging their unique perspectives.

4. Feed Your Brain

Unquestionably, learning languages has considerable cognitive advantages. Speaking more than one language helps people remember things, think critically and solve problems more quickly, concentrate better, multitask effectively, and have remarkable listening skills.

They demonstrate better creativity and flexibility than monolinguals and can more readily switch between competing tasks and observe changes in their surroundings. Furthermore, being bilingual or multilingual can help prevent mental ageing and cognitive decline as we grow.

5. Explore New Zealand

Travelling overseas as a local language speaker can dramatically change your experience. Although visitors who speak only one language can visit the same destinations, linguistic travellers can more easily navigate their way around the tourist hotspots and engage and interact with the locals in ways that are often inaccessible to those who do not speak the language. Learning a second language also increases your possibilities of going abroad to study or for a job.

6. Improve Your Decision Making

According to studies, decisions made in your second language are more rational than those made in your mother tongue.

Contrary to common belief, when we think in a second or third language, we detach ourselves from the sentiments and prejudices strongly related to our mother tongue. The conclusion is that the decisions are logical and objective, based only on the facts.

7. Gain Perspective

We inevitably make parallels to what is most familiar as we learn about a new language and culture. Learning about another culture helps us see the good and the bad aspects of our own that we might not have observed. You can opt to change things around or have high regard for what you have.

8. Serve The Māori Society Better

There are perks for staff members, the organisation as a whole, and, ultimately, for Māori health and lifestyle. The likelihood of improving Māori health and lifestyle outcomes increases with the number of people who speak Te Reo are conversant in Tikanga and appreciate the value of cooperation.

You can understand the people of the Māori community better and help them in many ways if you can converse with them in their native language. Learn Te Reo Māori language today at Reo Ora.

9. Being Linguistic Makes Your Brain Bigger

According to research, being lingual provides many benefits for brain size, especially growth in the cerebral cortex and hippocampus. Exercise can help your brain grow, just like with other muscles in your body. Learning, speaking, and reading another language is one of the finest ways to keep your mind sharp.

The Māori language is the easiest language to learn in the world, while Japanese is the hardest.

Learning a language can help you take advantage of opportunities, whether you’re trying to find a new job or want to broaden your horizons.

10. Improves the First Language

As Geoffrey Willans said, “You can never understand one language until you understand at least two.”

Learning a new language improves your understanding of your native tongue by making you more cognizant of its norms and subtleties. When concepts like conjugation, grammar, and sentence structure are used frequently while learning a new language, we start applying these ideas to our native tongue and consider the underlying structure of our language.

11. Grow as a Learner

Studying Te Reo Māori helps people grow as learners. Through the Te Reo Māori language, people can explore more ways of learning and know about their capabilities. They may become more reflective as they start comparing how much they know of their first language with what they are learning in Te Reo Māori.

  • They engage in self-reflection and questioning.
  • They gain learning skills.

Studies demonstrate that people who are fluent in multiple languages perform better than those who speak only one in many ways. The ability to appreciate and respect another culture is just one of the many advantages of learning a second language at any age.

Why I Have Dedicated My Time To Reo Ora?

A new language takes intentional acquisition, whereas the majority of our original language is learnt through intuitive absorption. As we learn a new language, we may start thinking about our first language in novel ways.

The journey of learning the Te Māori language is not just about learning the language — it is primarily about understanding the culture associated with it. We start to value other people’s ideas and behaviours as we become more accepting of a different culture.

You can learn the Māori language in 12 weeks using Reo Ora’s accelerated learning approach!