Tēnā koutou katoa e te whānau
It seems hard now to remember a time before the existence of Te Reo Hāpai, our glossary of te reo terms for the mental health, addiction and disability sectors, but it was only five years ago. That was a time when words in te reo for things like Alzheimers, diversity, stigma, ADHD and Autism had not yet been created.
Translated from Māori, Te Reo Hāpai means the ‘language of enrichment’. I created the glossary while working for Te Pou, and the work was funded by the Ministry of Health and the Māori Language Commission. Writing the glossary involved over two years of consultation, including guidance and support from the Te Pou clinical advisory panel which included Dr Mason Durie.
The launch of Te Reo Hāpai online will mean that these terms and concepts based on Māori world views will be even more accessible to everyone throughout Aotearoa and around the world.
There are some new word additions, greater flexibility and functionality and, best of all, there is the facility to hear how the words sound which will really help with pronunciation practice.
The amount of interest from overseas has been staggering. Clinicians, neuroscientists, whānau Māori and other indigenous peoples on all continents have downloaded copies and emailed me especially interested in the positive, strengths-based, mana-enhancing words on offer.
And this is what pleases me most about Te Reo Hāpai. The words and concepts enable people to feel good about defining themselves.
To that end I have asked Tūraukawa Bartlett to speak on behalf of whānau. He and his partner Aimee came up to me a few years ago and thanked me for creating a word that their autistic son can be proud of: takiwātanga – in his/her own time and space. And this interpretation has had the most impact around the world.
I’m honoured and privileged that I could contribute to the well-being of many people. Because as my kaumātua always would say: “He mana tō te kupu” – “Words have great power” because they can be used to crush someone’s spirit or uplift their mana.
I chose to do the latter.
Kia ora tātou