Te Wiki o te Reo Māori celebrations continue today with the Hikoia te Kōrero (Walk the Talk) Hīkoi to Maungakiekie today. The hīkoi attracted more than 2,000 people and was one of many hīkoi that has taken place across the country this week.
The obelisk on top of One Tree Hill was built with funds bequeathed by Sir Logan Campbell at his death as a memorial to Māori whose population dropped at one point to just 39,000. Māori were seen as a dying race and it was common sentiment that they should be remembered.
Regarding the hīkoi, Te Waihoroi Shortland (Ngāti Hine) stated "This morning we saw the next generation, walking up the mountain but they're not alone. As they also take our language with them".
Today’s hīkoi around the obelisk under which Sir Logan was buried is a resounding declaration that Māori were alive, that Te Reo Māori is growing here in Aotearoa, with Māori being spoken by Māori and non-Māori alike.
Jeff Ruha, a kaiako at Rutherford College who walked with his students added, "Different ethnicities have come along, not just Māori which is a good thing! All for the kaupapa and all for our native language!”
A formal welcome followed by formal speeches were given to masses of people at the foot of Maungakiekie.
Te Waihoroi finished his remarks thus, "I'm overwhelmed to have seen what happened today, all the challenges and obstacles from the past have had some importance with this generation".
Organizers remain hopeful that next year Hīkoia te Kōrero participation will double in Te Wiki o te Reo Māori 2020.