That feeling you get when you're about to speak, do I really fit in, will they accept me, will I get the vote the tick of approval. This was my head space until a few years ago.
When I whaikōrero (make a formal speech) to an audience I will always open with a karakia ( verb -tia to recite ritual chants, say grace, pray, recite a prayer, chant) and my pepeha ( noun: tribal saying, tribal motto, proverb (especially about a tribe), set form of words, formulaic expression, saying of the ancestors, figure of speech, motto, slogan - set sayings known for their economy of words and metaphor and encapsulating many Māori values and human characteristics) regardless of my time limit | topic | agenda and the status of the audience.
To me if nothing else you'll leave knowing who I am and where I am from. I'm not fluent in te reo but I'm extremely proud of who I am and my future!
I recently watched presenters speaking to an audience two of the six were Māori tane (male) and one referenced to being fluent in Te Reo. And to my surprise, one opened with Kia Ora (hello) ended with thank you and the fluent speaker opened and closed in English.
Each speaker had an opportunity to open and introduce themselves and then 5-6 further opportunities to answers questions from the floor and 5 minutes with a closing statement.
All 6 presenters delivered in English to a live audience 95% pakeha | non-Māori and live-streamed to a bi-culture audience. Now some were very good, good and like some auditions on TV shows like the X Factor, need the whanau (family) and takatāpui (close friends) to be more honest before they attempt such acts!
So I sit here wondering why? Why didn't our proud Māori kawatau (verb: to speak frequently of one's intentions, speak frequently of one's expectations) in te reo then English regardless of the time limits or their reason for being on stage?
I know they're not embarrassed to be Māori but I at least expected the fluent speaker to take the opportunity to whakapapa (noun his genealogy, genealogical table, lineage, descent - reciting whakapapa is, an important skill and reflects the importance of genealogies in Māori society in terms of leadership, land and fishing rights, kinship and status).
If you're speaking and have a second language, regardless of the audience stand proud and tell them who you are and where you're from in your waiwaiā (beautiful) native tongue and it only takes me 57.44 sec and I'm not fluent but within that time acknowledge our creator, the past, present and my whakapapa (genealogy).
I'll leave you all with this thought - When we don't offer our pepeha te reo or English, it is like answering a phone call from a blocked number - hello, hello, who is it? who? where are you calling from? who? from where? 90% of us will hang up because we don't know who the caller is or we'll let them talk and finish the call and still be none the wiser!
Ko Conrad Waitoa toku ingoa | Ngāti Porou, Ngāti Kahungunu | Nō Maungawharau ahau