There was more to the Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei occupation than land loss.

The Auckland-based hapū were also rallying against the suppression of language and culture.

As the 40th anniversary of the occupation is marked this week, there's some satisfaction that a puna reo stands on the very site where the protest took place.

Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei’s Clay Hawke says it's hoped the puna will be a bastion to restore the language among the people.       

“I ngoikore haere te reo i aua wā, kāore he reo i runga i te paepae. Kāore he marae i tērā wā mō mātou nō reira, āe, ka ngaro haere ngā tikanga me te reo Māori kei waenganui o te hapū.”

According to Hawke, in recent years the iwi has made it their mission to normalise te reo Māori within the next generation as they are the future of Ngāti Whātua's reo.

“Ko te tūmanako ināianei mā ngā mātua o ngā tamariki ka huri ki ngā wānanga, ngā karaehe reo Māori hoki kia taea rātou te kōrero Māori ki ngā tamariki i te kāinga, i te hapori.”

Te Puna Reo Okahukura teacher Ginny Felix says the puna reo was opened 10 years ago and this year made a significant change in the hope to normalise te reo.

“I te tīmatanga o te tau nei kua huri tēnei puna reo hei puna reo reo Māori anake. Nā, he huarahi pai tērā mō mātou, he kaupapa nui mātou te whānau.”

Even though they've set up a puna reo, marae and a number of reo Māori programmes for all levels of speakers, Hawke believes the road ahead has a long way to go.

“Kāore anō kia tae ki te taumata tiketike heoi anō ko te tūmanako ā tōna wā ko te reo Māori te reo matua i waenga i te hapū me ngā kaimahi.”

LIKE