2019 is the Year of International Indigenous Languages, and Emma Te Rangi Haami-Jones from Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Hawaiki Hou in Turanga has been chosen to attend the United Nations Permanent Forum of Indigenous Issues in New York.
Haami-Jones is a product of the language revitalisation efforts of her elders and the continued efforts of dedicated speakers who sustain te reo Māori within Māori immersion education.
She looks to provide a rangatahi perspective on language and its use in public spaces at the forum.
"The aim is for [other indigenous peoples] to remain true to their own languages, as I am with te reo Māori, with Māori customs, and promoting the use of Māori in public spaces", says Haami-Jones.
A kōhanga reo graduate and a student of Māori language immersion education her entire life, Haami-Jones has grown up with te reo Māori and is passionate about its survival.
“The purpose of my presentation is related to te reo Māori, my development within it, the many benefits that have come from it,” says Haami-Jones.
She is being supported by the Seventh Generation Fund For Indigenous Peoples. The only Aotearoa-based director on the fund, Tawera Tahuri says Haami-Jones is an exemplary student.
“She's easy going, committed to the movement, she's caring, if she doesn't know she's not afraid to ask, she's hard-working- a great student,” says Tahuri.
International linguistic research shows that every two weeks or so an indigenous language dies.
Haami-Jones says, “My dream is for the Māori language to thrive in this world because my elders fought for it and when my generation moves on the hope is that next generation will develop it further.”
Haami-Jones will head to New York on Thursday.