Mahuru | September 2021

The month of September - known to many as Mahuru - is a time of regrowth, rebirth and renewal, marking the first phase of summer in the maramataka (Māori Lunar Calendar), and the beginning of spring in the Gregorian calendar. There are many tohu, or signs, associated with Mahuru (September) in Aotearoa - from the flowing of inanga (whitebait) and the tangi of the pīpīwharauroa (call of the Shining cuckoo), to the appearance of spring lambs and garden blooms. 

Mahuru is the month in which all in Aotearoa are invited to celebrate our country’s unique Indigenous language, te reo Māori (Māori language). Established in 2014, ‘Mahuru Māori’ (September Māori Language Challenge) is about normalising te reo and providing inclusive, accessible opportunities for everyone to participate - all while dancing to the 70s beats of Earth, Wind & Fire. Over the years NPM researchers have made important contributions to the revitalisation of te reo - you can read more about their efforts and impact below.

Throughout Mahuru, our Tāmaki-based (Auckland) NPM secretariat carried on working from their mirumiru (lockdown bubbles) with the change to level three. Researchers and partners across the NPM network continue to lead and support efforts to reduce inequities in vaccination rates for Māori, and keep whānau (families) safe.

We also acknowledge the ongoing efforts of Indigenous nations, communities, and researchers in other whenua (lands) who seek social justice for their peoples as they deal with the inequitable consequences of the pandemic.

BBC: Fury as Covid crisis hits Australia's Aboriginal communities

CBC: Manitoba spends $2.8M to boost vaccination rates among urban Indigenous population

Mahuru has also surfaced important successes for NPM researchers in the recent Endeavour funding round.

NPM Board member Dr Jane Kitson (Ngāi Tahu, Ngāti Mamoe, Waitaha) and Dr Joanna Clapcott (Ngāti Porou) are the science leaders of ‘Fish futures: preparing for novel freshwater ecosystems'Fish futures draws on mātauranga mō te wai (Māori knowledge systems on freshwater science) to help transform the way we care for both native and introduced freshwater fish in Aotearoa.

NPM researchers Dr Phil Lyver (Ngāti Toarangatira ki Wairau) and Dr Shaun Awatere (Ngāti Porou) are key members of research teams that were also successful applicants. Dr Phil for 'Te Weu o te Kaitiaki - Indigenous regeneration pathways' and Dr Shaun for ‘Restoring Urban Nature’. Research, Science and Innovation Minister Hon Dr Minister Woods highlighted the importance of these projects for demonstrating how Te Ao Māori knowledge and ways of doing research can re-imagine sustainable solutions. (Government invests in scientific research to boost economy, address climate change and enhance wellbeing)

Enjoy this song by Pere Wihongi in the tune of 'September' by Earth, Wind & Fire’ that celebrates Mahuru Māori and encourages us to celebrate te reo Māori all year round.

Kia kaha rā tātou! Tukuna te reo kia rere.
Let’s all make an effort. Unleash the Māori language so that it may soar.

Ngā Pou Matarua | Co-Directors

    - Professor Linda Waimarie Nikora

    - Professor Tahu Kukutai

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