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Maori Language Week

We talk to Mauri Oho Stokes (Tupac Evans)

Keep an eye out for this talented actor over the next couple of months as he makes his mark on Ferndale.

Mauri Oho Stokes takes on the role of Tupac Evans, the wayward teen gang member who Daniel initially meets at brat camp , when Tupac bullies the rest of the team.

A member of the Whitetails gang, we originally met Tupac when Kingi Wake (Te Kohe Tuhaka) was on the scene.

From the looks of things, he is still out and about causing trouble - and Daniel is going to be the next to get caught up in the action. 

While Tupac Evans might a young man on the wrong side of the law, Mauri couldn't be more different to his character.

Confident in the use of Maori language, Mauri is here to give us his thoughts about the importance of the language as we celebrate Maori Language Week this week.

When did you learn to speak Maori?

I was fortunate to be able to attend Te Kohanga Reo o Te Hau Kapua from a very young age, I then went onto Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o te Raki Pae Whenua graduating at the end of 2003. 

I excelled and completed NCEA levels 1,2 and 3 Maori at TGS by the end of year 11.  I also completed a whaikorero (speech making) level 4 paper through AUT at Te Taua Moana Marae.

Why is it important for you to know how to speak Maori?

Te Reo (the language) is the key to our culture. Within it sits our cultural values and principles.  I am Maori and therefore should be able to speak Maori  as it's a part of who I am. 

It's an essential building block for me, our tikanga comes from our reo. 

Ko to ringa ki nga rakau a te pakeha hei ara mo to tinana, ko to ngakau ki nga taonga a o tipuna maori hei tikitiki mo to mahunga, a ko to wairua ki to atua nana nei nga mea katoa (by Ta Apirana Ngata), this is my interpretation  - put your hands to the skill of the pakeha, ensure your heart retains the essence and values of your for fathers, ensure your spirit is replenished, that there is a being greater then the human being.  In simple English don't forget who you are, you are of them.  This is why Te Reo is important to me.


Do you think it is important for other young New Zealander's to learn Te Reo?

I think it's awesome that it is an official language of NZ.  If we want a bicultural society it would be great to understand each other. 

I do believe that it is important that everybody be given an opportunity and if it is done at an early age it becomes a part of the norm in society.

What would you say to people contemplating learning Te Reo?

Tino pai, kia kaha,  give it a go. It's a great way to communicate and has given me very many opportunities, and its a part of us as a country!