In this 1988 Waka huia episode, Sir James Hēnare (Tā Hēmi Henare) uses a saying which has become the rallying cry of the Māori-language revitalisation movement: ‘Ko te reo te mauri o te mana Māori’ – the language is the life force of the mana Māori. Hēnare said this during the Waitangi Tribunal hearings in 1985, and was quoted with approval in the final report. The full quotation is:
Ko te reo te mauri o te mana Māori.
Ko te kupu te mauri o te reo Māori.
E rua ēnei wehenga kōrero e hāngai tonu ana ki runga i te reo Māori.
Ko te reo, nō te Atua mai.
The language is the life force of the mana Māori.
The word is the life force of the language.
These two ideas are absolutely crucial to the Māori language.
A language which is a gift to us from God.
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