Black Caps T20 to have commentary in te reo Māori

By Contributor

Three former New Zealand cricketers will help to make history on Sunday as part of the first bilingual commentary of an international match in Aotearoa.

Maia Lewis (Ngāti Whātua and Ngāti Maniapoto), Peter McGlashan (Ngāti Porou) and Rebecca Rolls (Ngāti Porou), will join Māori language academic, writer, and broadcaster Scotty Morrison (Ngāti Whakaue), and sports broadcaster Te Aorere Pewhairangi (Ngāti Porou), in delivering commentary in both English and te reo Māori for the first T20 between the Black Caps and Sri Lanka at Eden Park.

Maia Lewis

For Lewis and McGlashan, the occasion represents both a celebration of te reo Māori and an opportunity to embrace their whakapapa.

The commentary will be carried live on Spark Sport, TVNZ 1, and TVNZ + and will be able to be accessed by selecting the alternative language option on each of the platforms.

Lewis said she was looking forward to the challenge of describing the match in te reo Māori and further opening up the game for her people.

"It's great for Māori as tangata whenua and I also think it helps in terms of attracting Pasifika to the game - simply by showing a commitment to be inclusive and welcoming," she said.

"I think the goodwill is important. It's a huge step in the right direction."

The former White Ferns captain said that, like so many others, she had to learn te reo Māori as a second language and was loving the voyage of discovery that followed.

"That played a big part in coming back to my roots. I'm looking forward to sharing that on commentary and telling the story of the game in my own language."

A video on Lewis' te reo Māori journey will be played during the innings break.

Peter McGlashan. Photo / RNZ / Nick Monro

McGlashan said the commentary option was significant in terms of showcasing te reo Māori, and helping it thrive in mainstream Aotearoa New Zealand.

"My grandma grew up in a time when Māori were prohibited from speaking their language - it was beaten out of us. So this is something very special to me.

"Te reo Māori is about so much more than just words. It's the story of a culture that you can't articulate accurately in any other language. It's important we keep using it."

He said the commentary initiative would hopefully help welcome more Māori to the game and, with that, produce more role models in and around it.

"It's just like the language," he said. "You can't speak what you can't hear. And you can't be what you can't see."

Sunday's T20 coverage will also feature a story on the history of Eden Park, as told by Ngāti Whātua, to be played during the build-up to the start of the game.