Tayla Hartemink (Tūhoe, Ngāti Tūwharetoa and Ngāti Kahu) is a student and artist living in Te Whanganui-a-Tara.

To celebrate Te Wiki o te Reo Māori 2023 Tayla has created an illustration for Re: News inspired by what the kaupapa means to her. 

Re: News Māori specialist journalist, Te Ahipourewa Forbes spoke with Tayla about her art, and what Te Wiki o te Reo Māori means to her. She also shared some advice for those beginning their reo journey.

Tell me about the designs you created for Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori.

The kōrero behind it is based on the story of Tāne-te-wānanga-ā-Rangi ascending the heavens to retrieve the baskets of knowledge. 

He can be seen on the right and then two taniwha that guided him through his ascension to the heavens, Māreikura and Whatukura. 

It was a really great story to draw from because it's all about gaining knowledge and growing and learning. 

And for me, te reo Māori is really full of knowledge.

What inspired this illustration?

I was really inspired by the skate park in my hometown Rotorua, there is an awesome mural there that's kind of similar. 

I really wanted to connect to rangatahi with this drawing. I'm an urban Māori and there’s that idea of us engaging with cultures like hip-hop and pop culture, but in our own way. 

I was also inspired by some Māori musicians who also do hip-hop – Rei, MOKOMOKAI, Te KuraHuia and MELODOWNZ.

What is Te Wiki o te Reo Māori to you?

I think Te Wiki o te Reo Māori is and has always just been really important for our people, remembering our kaumātua and how much they fought and how resilient they were.

Remembering both the resilience and the history of resisting colonialism and everything that happened to our previous generation.

On the other hand, Te Wiki o te Reo Māori is about pride, empowerment, and connecting with ourselves.

We’re striving towards a better future in Aotearoa where we can speak Māori in shops and aim for that normalisation of our reo.

It's an equal part of remembering mamae (pain) but also an empowering thing.

What are your plans for te wiki o te reo Māori?

Definitely brushing up on my reo but also seeing all the beautiful art and all the beautiful content online and probably learning more karakia.

Advice for those learning te reo or thinking about starting their journey?

Patua te whakamā, don't be ashamed, learning is a process, and learning is a journey. The language is yours. It's there for you to speak. It's a beautiful thing to be learning.

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