Māori Party co-leaders Marama Fox and Te Ururoa Flavell are lending their wholehearted support to the fantastic events happening around Aotearoa for Te Wiki o te reo Māori but are urging political parties to do more to help revitalisation efforts of the language.
“The Māori Party has a vision for a proud, bilingual Aotearoa that supports Māori culture, language and Māori identity to flourish,” says Ms Fox.
“We want to make te reo Māori, Māori history and culture core curriculum subjects in all schools up to Year-10. And that is why we are looking to set a target for one million speakers of te reo Māori by 2040, the 200 year anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi.
“Unlike other mainstream parties who are paying lip service to te reo in schools by only promising to make it compulsorily available, more needs to be done. I can’t tell the difference between Labour and National,” Ms Fox says.
“They have no real commitment to our reo for the future. We would like to encourage them to follow our leadership and make it a core subject in all schools.
“That means we need a plan and we have already started the ball rolling through the PPTA, the NZEI and the Ministry of Education coming together to write the strategy of how we make that a reality,” Ms Fox says.
Mr Flavell says the Māori Party has led the charge when it comes to the revitalisation of te reo Māori.
”As a teacher and champion of efforts to grow the utilisation of te reo within whānau, passing Te Ture mō te reo Māori Act last year is a personal highlight of mine,” Mr Flavell says.
“As speakers of te reo, we know how blessed we are to raise our tamariki and mokopuna in te reo Māori. Efforts to have our precious language resonate in the living rooms of all whānau in Aotearoa can be a reality if we move beyond the rhetoric and commit to kaupapa to let our reo thrive,” Ms Fox says.
Mr Flavell says an independent Māori voice in Parliament is the only way to ensure appropriate resourcing and support for te reo continues.
“This year, $21m was invested in te reo initiatives with over $55m invested into the last two Budgets. Last year, increases to Te Māngai Pāhō of $10m were delivered for the first time ever, the transfer of resources and decision making for language initiatives was handed back to iwi and community through Te Mātāwai ($12m), and over $10m was provided to Māori Television Services – their first increase since they started over 10 years ago.”
“Our message to our people is we cannot leave the fate of this precious taonga te reo Māori to languish in the hands of mainstream parties any longer. We must act to protect our reo and to let it flourish as our tūpuna envisaged,” Ms Fox says.
“We don’t have to go cap-in-hand like the other Māori candidates in mainstream parties to try and get something for our people. Other parties have shown in the past that they will throw kaupapa Māori under the bus when it suits.
“That’s not the Aotearoa I want for our tamariki. I want to see te reo Māori flourish and used widely in everyday life.”