Oranga Tangata | Te Reo Māori

Te Reo Māori

“Tōku reo, tōku ohooho. Tōku reo, tōku māpihi maurea. Tōku reo, tōku whakakai marihi”

Executive Summary

The Māori Language Act in 1987 declared Te Reo Māori as an official language in this country. The only other official language in Aotearoa is Sign Language.

Estimates report that approximately 20% of the Māori population and 3% of people living in Aotearoa can speak Te Reo Māori. The proportion of Māori able to hold an everyday conversation in the Māori language decreased by 3.7% between 1996 and 2013. The UNESCO Languages Atlas classes Te Reo Māori as a vulnerable language. This is a problem and it is unacceptable.

As a result of this dire classifaction, the Māori Party legislated the Te Ture o Te Reo Māori Act 2016 but, there is much more work to be done.

To date, there has been marginal resource injected into the revitalisation and protection of Te Reo Māori in comparison to the English language and little has been done to affect enduring systemic change.

The Māori Party attributes the lack of systemic influence in policy to the crown’s reluctance to acknowledge Te Reo Māori as equal to the English language.

The Māori Party asserts under Article 3 of Te Tiriti o Waitangi where we are promised the same rights as English citizens, that Te Reo Māori me ōna tikanga katoa be treated and valued exactly the same as the English language - Mana ōrite.

The Māori Party will;

• Change New Zealand’s name to Aotearoa by 2026.

• Replace all Pākeha place names, cities and towns to their original Māori ingoa by 2026.

• Invest $50m into the establishment of a Māori Standards Authority; an independent statutory entity whose role will be to audit all public service departments against cultural competency standards, including the monitoring and auditing of language plans.

• Establish Te Marama o te Reo Māori.

• Double Te Mātāwai funding ($28m)

• Remunerate Primary and Secondary school’s and kaiako based on their competency of Te Reo Māori.

• Ensure that Te Reo Māori and Māori History are core curriculum subjects up to Year 10 at Secondary Schools.

• Invest $40m for Early childhood to Secondary School kaiako to develop their reo.

• Require all Primary Schools to incorporate Te Reo Māori into 25% of their curriculum by 2026 and 50% by 2030.

• Invest $20m into the development of Te Reo Māori resources.

• Require all state funded broadcasters (workforce) across all mediums to have a basic fluency level of Te Reo Māori.

Context

With name changes over our landscape to force cultural oppression and the imposition of a colonial agenda in the education system in the early 1900s, Te Reo Māori fluency among our tipuna went from 90% in 1910 to 26% in 1950. In only 40 years, Pākeha managed to successfully strip us of our language and we are still feeling the impacts of this agenda today.

The WAI 262 (2011) report, Ko Aotearoa Tēnei, highlighted that current trends for the maintenance of Te Reo Māori, “suggest that the ongoing gains being made with te reo are not offsetting the ongoing losses occurring as older speakers pass away. Moreover, the theoretically ongoing gains are in fact beginning to turn into losses amongst the crucial younger age groups, who represent the future health of te reo”

It is the duty of the crown to do all that it can to restore the status of our Reo to where it was when they arrived on our whenua.

The Māori Party position is that Te Reo Māori is the language of Aotearoa. As such, The Māori Party expects for the crown to actively protect and promote Te Reo Māori and encourage its use by Iwi, Māori and all citizens of Aotearoa regardless of ethnicity.

Until the crown recognises this position, they will continue to remove themselves from their duty to;

1. ensure meaningful initiatives for the protection and promotion of Te Reo Māori are far reaching and,

2. implement policy that addresses systemic failure to truly promote and protect Te Reo Māori as the official language of Aotearoa

Solution

The Māori Party believes that for Te Reo Māori to be normalised in this country and if we intend to grow the Māori language economy, we must require for Te Reo Māori to be accessible in the most obvious of places; on our televisions, on our radio stations, on
road signs and maps and in our education system.

Furthermore, the Māori Party assert that in order for our aspirations to be realised, all public service departments must be held to account where cultural competency and Te Reo Māori strategies are concerned.

We understand that the education sector, the public service sector and the media/broadcasting sector serve as significant influencers in language acquisition and normalisation. We also understand that a cultural shift towards embracing Te Reo Māori as the official indigenous language of Aotearoa requires systemic changes that are led from the leadership of our country; the NZ State Sector.

Our solutions are framed around a key recommendation offered by the Wai 262 Waitangi Tribunal Report: Ko Aotearoa Tēnei. The report recommended that the status of Te Reo Māori could be heightened via reform that would see orgaisations like Te Taura Whiri o Te Reo Māori functioning with more power to help develop and approve of Māori language plans in central and local Government departments, State-funded
schools, State-funded broadcasters.

This recommendation forms the basis of our approach and provides much needed substance to the current Maihi Karauna Strategy.

The Māori Party will;

• Ensure New Zealand’s name is changed to Aotearoa by 2026.

• Replace all Pākeha place names, cities and towns to their original Māori ingoa by 2026.

• Invest $50m into the establishment of a Māori Standards Authority; an independent statutory entity whose role will be to audit all public service departments against cultural competency standards, including the monitoring and auditing of language plans.

• Establish Te Marama o te Reo Māori.

• Double Te Mātāwai funding ($28m)

• Remunerate Primary and Secondary school’s and kaiako based on their competency of Te Reo Māori.

• Ensure that Te Reo Māori and Māori History are core curriculum subjects up to Year 10 at Secondary Schools.

• Invest $40m for Early childhood to Secondary School kaiako to develop their reo.

• Require all Primary Schools to incorporate Te Reo Māori into 25% of their curriculum by 2026 and 50% by 2030.

• Require all state funded broadcasters (workforce) across all mediums to have a basic fluency level of Te Reo Māori.

 

References

The Social Report 2016 – Te Pūrongo Oranga Tangata
WAI 262 Report: Ko Aotearoa Tēnei
UNESCO Languages Atlas
The Native Language Act
Te Ture mo Te Reo Māori Act 2016
Maihi Karauna – Crown Strategy for Language Revitalisation

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