Te reo Māori, the indigenous language of Aotearoa New Zealand, is intricately connected to these islands and their peoples. Pākehā comprise a small proportion of speakers of te reo Māori, but have a significant effect on the language as they comprise the majority of the wider population. This research aimed to understand in depth the experiences of fluent Pākehā speakers of te reo Māori. It found many commonalities across this group, despite its diverse composition. The findings were complex and may appear paradoxical. These people have found ways to carry our colonial past, our complicated present, and our aspirations for the future, through their words and their actions. Their experiences can help to inform us about the multitude of challenges and advantages involved in becoming bilingual Pākehā citizens of Aotearoa New Zealand. Fourteen Pākehā who are second language speakers in te reo Māori were interviewed for this research and four key aspects of their experiences were explored and discussed in relation to te reo Māori revitalisation and re-normalisation: 1) motivations for learning te reo; 2) challenges on the path; 3) ways they navigated through these challenges; and 4) the value of te reo Māori for them.
Ko te reo Māori, te reo taketake o Aotearoa, he taura kua whiriwhiria ki ēnei motu, ki ōna tāngata. Ahakoa te tokoiti o te hunga Pākehā kōrero Māori, he nui tā rātou papānga ki te reo i runga i te mea ko te iwi nui tonu rātou o te iwi whānui o Aotearoa. Ko te whāinga o tēnei rangahau kia tino mārama ki ngā wheako o ngā kaikōrero Pākehā matatau ki te reo Māori. Ahakoa te whānui o ngā tūmomo tāngata he nui ngā āhuatanga ōrite puta noa i te rōpū nei. He matatini ngā kitenga, ā, he wā anō he matarua pea te āhua. Kua kitea e te hunga nei ngā huarahi e taea ai ō tātou rā i raro i te ringa ‘atawhai’ o Peretania o mua, ō tātou rā hurihuri o nāianei, me ō tātou tūmanako mō ngā rangi e tū mai nei te kawe mā roto i ā rātou kupu, i ā rātou mahi anō hoki. Mā ō rātou wheako e piki ai tō mātou mōhiotanga ki te tini o ngā whakapātari, o ngā huanga anō hoki i te whai kia tangata Pākehā reorua o Aotearoa. He tekau mā whā ngā kaikōrero Pākehā ko te reo Māori tō rātou reo tuarua, i uiuia mō tēnei rangahau. I tūhuratia, i kōrerotia e whā ngā āhuatanga matua o ā rātou wheako e pā ana ki whakarauoratanga reo me te whakahāngaitanga anō o te reo Māori: 1) ngā hihiri ako i te reo Māori; 2) ngā whakapātari i runga i te huarahi; 3) ngā ara i whāia kia ekea ai ēnei whakapātari; me te 4) te uara o te reo Māori ki a rātou.