Reflecting on Te Wiki o te Reo Māori

September 15, 2023

Nurture the seed and it will grow


Our Chief People Officer Helen Sedcole reflects on how Z is celebrating Te Wiki o te Reo Māori and our commitment to Te Ao Māori.


Te Wiki o te Reo Māori provides a chance to reflect on our journey so far, beyond just te Reo Māori, but within Te Ao Māori. It is a journey that continues to reward as we seek a greater understanding of what this means, how it could show up and how we relate to it, both at an individual level and as a company focused on Aotearoa.

We also recognise that the haerenga is one that will be ongoing and that there is no end point in this journey. There will be moments where we may falter, take a step backward or sideways, as we navigate this in our own time. It is crucial to recognise this, given that we must all move at our own pace to truly create space to understand Te Ao Māori and how it relates to us.

It is also easy to stay in the shadows, for that fear of doing something wrong. Yet in collectively sharing our experiences and approach, it can help provide a light to others, even if it is a glimmer for those unsure where to start.

For Z and myself, these past twelve months continue to open my eyes to what is possible. I have been fortunate to work alongside some amazing people, seeing the mahi they do and the passion they bring to Te Ao Māori and te Reo Māori each day. This includes working alongside our Kaiwhakahaere Kaupapa Māori, Claudia Faletolu and Te Ariki Rangitutia, and also seeing the shared leadership across the Z Leadership Team and in particular Lindis Jones (CEO) and Julian Hughes (GM Supply) and their personal commitment. Through these kōrero, we’ve started to generate a common understanding of why this is important to Z and why it should be important to our people. This week, they have led waiata practices, companywide All Hands events, and launched ongoing initiatives to our staff.

I have also been privileged to spend two days on a marae alongside my leadership colleagues and see, hear, and feel the wairua of those there. The time they dedicated to helping me gain greater awareness was priceless and an experience I’ll never forget while allowing me to feel a greater connection to Te Ao Māori in a way that had never happened before.

The Māori ally network which launched a year ago, has continued to gain strength and a voice across the business. It actively contributes to the culture of our organisation, making it a richer place to work. They have championed events and experiences throughout the year, keeping the conversation alive and in doing so, have created a safe place for our people to learn te Reo Māori and put it into practice. We have seen the results of this approach, with more and more of our team proactively signing up to learn more through our partnership with Education Perfect. This partnership provides a comprehensive Te Ao Māori learning programme online course as well as face-to-face learning.

He hinengaro hiakai tō Z kia ako i ngā mātauranga o Te Ao Māori. Z has the commitment and growth-mindset to embrace the wisdom of Te Ao Māori.

We also know that our commitment and actions are being watched by those within the business, their friends, whānau, and those beyond. Often people spend time waiting to see if the commitment is real, authentic and in it for the long-term before they themselves engage. It is why our path includes reinforcing and sharing our experiences openly and the continuation of integrating tikanga practices into our on-boarding as two examples.

What's next? The image above is one I shared last year; it incorporates a whakataukī which remains at the core of our journey. We will continue to ‘nurture the seed...' in the knowledge that our tree continues to grow as we develop our own understanding and capability within te Reo Māori and Te Ao Māori. Our commitment is providing the space and support so that each one of our team’s trees will grow with them. Our aim remains to create a safe and inclusive environment where people can explore what matters most to them and to Aotearoa.