Indigenous Knowledge and the UN Decade of Indigenous Languages.

"A leai se gagana, ua leai se aganu'u. A leai se aganu'u, ona po lea o le nu'u - When you lose your language, you lose your culture. When there is no longer culture, darkness descends on the village" (Le Tagalo)

Our Indigenous knowledges, practices in Aotearoa.

Mātauranga Māori is an indigenous knowledge tradition and body of knowledge unique to Māori. It is holistic and sits within a worldview that is connected to the world and everything within it.

Mātauranga Māori originates from the ancestors and is passed down from generation to generation. It is based on Māori cultural values, tikanga and practices and has a dynamic creative potential.

The people of Aotearoa New Zealand share cultural, linguistic and indigenous knowledge links with the people of the Pacific. Māori and Pacific peoples share common voyaging ancestry traditions which go back to Hawaiki – the ancestral homeland and source of life.

Indigenous knowledges and practises are not limited to Aotearoa New Zealand and the Pacific and are common to people and cultures across the world.

Why have we made this a priority?

We want to protect and celebrate Aotearoa New Zealand’s taonga past, present and future by connecting our unique indigenous culture, natural heritage and communities within Aotearoa New Zealand and internationally.

We want to build on the work that took place during the International Year of Indigenous Languages in 2019, where we worked with Te Taura Whiri – The Māori Language Commission on Aotearoa New Zealand’s contribution to the Year.

And we want to continue to offer funding to initiatives that embrace mātauranga Māori, such as the SchoolFest: Waka Odyssey a former recipient of a Major Grant.

The UN Decade of Indigenous Languages

The UN Decade of Indigenous Languages (2022 to 2031) recognises the right to preserve, revitalize and promote languages, and linguistic diversity in sustainable development.

UNESCO is responsible for the global action plan which will be implemented during the Decade of Indigenous Languages.

Professor Rawinia Higgins, Chair of Te Taura Whiri, is one of three Pacific representatives on the Global Taskforce for the Decade.

Our work during the UN Decade of Indigenous Languages will focus on:

  • Building the mahi with Te Taura Whiri as the key agency leading New Zealand’s contribution for the Decade.
  • Supporting national initiatives that align with the Decade’s goals and enable New Zealanders to participate in and contribute to Decade-related events, both locally and globally.

Embracing the Decade

Hear from our UNESCO Aotearoa Youth Leaders and our Commissioner Professor Tagaloatele Peggy Fairbairn-Dunlop about why the Decade is so important to them, and why we should all embrace and promote the Decade.

Next up:

Oceans for the Wellbeing of People and the Planet
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