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Source: New Zealand Government – Willie Jackson

A national commemorative event to mark the 50th anniversary of the Māori language petition (Te Petihana) being presented will be held at Parliament on 14 September.

Māori Development Minister Willie Jackson says the public event recognises the te reo Māori champions behind Te Petihana in 1972 and how their bravery and work ignited the Māori language movement.

“Rangatahi from Ngā Tamatoa, Te Reo Māori Society and Te Huinga Rangatahi, supported by kaumātua, presented over 30,000 signatures calling for te reo Māori to be taught in all schools. This was a pivotal moment in our country’s history and deserves recognition,” Willie Jackson said.

“It may be hard for some people to believe but 50 years ago te reo Māori was in grave danger of dying out.

“There were no kōhanga reo, kura kaupapa, wānanga, Māori media or much Māori used anywhere outside of rural Māori communities. Te Reo Māori wasn’t even an official language.

“We have made great progress to revitalise and embed te reo Māori into our daily lives. We have Māori in our schools, and Māori Language Day became Māori language week that over a million New Zealanders celebrate each year.

“I hope New Zealanders will join me in honouring our Māori language champions, past and present” Willie Jackson said.

The national commemoration event will be held at Parliament on 14 September from 11:30am to 1:00pm and include formal speeches, live music, free kai and a shared Māori language moment at midday. Those who can’t attend can watch the commemoration event via Whakaata Māori livestream.

A Māori Language Petition 50th Anniversary Exhibition at Te Puna Foundation Gallery, National Library will open on Wednesday 14 September until 3 December 2022.


The latest Stats NZ data shows te reo Māori use and support keeps growing, including almost a quarter of Māori speaking te reo Māori as a first language and 3/5 New Zealanders think te reo Māori should be a core primary school subject.

People are encouraged to register if attending the national commemoration on theFacebook Event page. 
You can watch the livestream of the 50th anniversary event on Whakatā Māori, via Māori + or on their website:
Other Te Petihana Reo Māori 50th anniversary events include the “I am Hana” festival in Taranaki, Te Hui Ahurei Reo Māori Festival in Wellington and the Waiata Anthems initiative.