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Māori Language (Te Reo Māori) Bill (2014)

posted Aug 14, 2014, 3:33 PM by NZEA web2

The Minister of Māori Affairs Dr Pita Sharples has proposed a bill in Parliament that will create a new entity known as Te Matawai, which, he says, will give power back to an iwi-represented board, rather than the Minister. Many Māori groups are opposed to the proposal.

The Auckland Languages Strategy Working Group has criticised it. They fear that it will weaken support for the Māori Language. They say that it would be more effective to allocate more money directly to school and community initiatives. "We are working towards a regional languages strategy for Tamaki Makaurau, after central government has repeatedly failed to prioritise New Zealand’s diversity of languages at a national level. For Aotearoa to gain the full benefit from the many languages spoken here, and for Te Reo Māori to thrive, we believe a national languages policy is needed."

Labour and Green MPs voiced their concerns in Parliament, when the bill was introduced, that the bill does not clarify the Crown's “commitment and responsibilities to Te Reo” as it should.

Tau Henare MP, pointing to the progress of Welsh in Wales, advocates the development of a plan to introduce teaching Māori language to everyone in all NZ schools. He said in Parliament: “It would do wonders for this nation’s belief that it is a bicultural nation. It would do wonders for race relations. It would do wonders for our ability to talk to people of other cultures. When you learn a second language or even a first language, it is easier to learn the next one and the next one.”