Ko Ōtaki tēnei: the town that loves te reo Māori
“I am incredibly fortunate to have been raised in Ōtaki. It's a town that fosters and supports individuals on their reo journey.”
If you travel an hour north of Wellington, you'll come across Ōtaki, a seemingly typical small town in Aotearoa. However, what sets it apart is its dedication to te reo Māori. For those who were raised there, have visited, or chosen to make it their home, there is no other place like it in Aotearoa. For Te Wiki o te Reo Māori, we had the opportunity to explore Ōtaki and speak with some of its residents about the importance of the Māori language.
Christina, a Tongan mother with Māori/Tokelau/Tongan children, moved to Ōtaki several years ago and, after having children, decided that it was the perfect place to raise them. With several kōhanga reo, two kura Māori, two Māori high schools, and a Māori language tertiary institute, she is confident that it's the best place for her children to grow up.
For those who grew up in Ōtaki, te reo Māori is an integral part of daily life. They understand the passion and desire from others to learn it, such as Riria, a worker at Te Wānanga o Raukawa who has seen hundreds of students over the years. People come from all over to live and learn in this unique town.
While it may seem like an unremarkable seaside town to outsiders, Ōtaki has much to offer. The next time you pass through, consider stopping by to experience and see firsthand what a reo speaking town looks like.
“For those who have a profound appreciation for the Māori language and may be interested in learning, explore what Ōtakii has to offer for your reo journey.”
This is part of our reo Māori series, Ohinga, created by Mahi Tahi Media, with funding from Te Māngai Pāho. Stay tuned for a new episode every week.
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