Watch: Aotearoa's first Māori Supreme Court Justice leads waiata practice as week celebrating te reo kicks off

New Zealand’s first Māori Supreme Court Justice led a waiata practice at The Supreme Court in Wellington today.

Justice Joe Williams is of Ngāti Pūkenga, and Te Arawa descent.

Courts of NZ released the footage on its Twitter page today.

"Waiata practice lead by Justice Joe Williams at Te Kōti Mana Nui at noon today - kia kaha te reo Māori," the video is captioned.

It comes as Te Wiki o te Reo Māori has kicked off in Aotearoa today with virtual celebrations occurring across the country throughout the week.

Like many annual events, Māori Language Week has had to go digital due to Covid-19 restrictions.

Māori Development Minister Nanaia Mahuta says having virtual celebrations is an "exciting new way" for New Zealanders to get involved.

“Regardless of where you are on the learning spectrum, this is one of the many initiatives that every New Zealander can participate in using the language and being more confident and comfortable with Te Reo Māori in your own environment.”

Musician Pere Wihongi also appeared on TVNZ1's Breakfast this morning to mark the beginning of the week. He performed September by Earth Wind and Fire, but in te reo.

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Pere Wihongi performed September by Earth Wind and Fire to celebrate the beginning of Māori Language Week. Source: Breakfast

The rendition, translated to Mahuru in Māori, had the Breakfast presenters boogieing along.

Wihongi, a former reporter for TVNZ1's Te Karere, says it's important to give te reo a go, even if you don't know much.

"Simple little commitments can do so much for Te Reo Māori," he said.

Māori Language Week has been celebrated each year in New Zealand since 1975.

This year it runs from 14-20 September.