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Maori Language Needs Energy & Resources to Survive

Researchers have found that further energy and resources are needed to re-establish and maintain Maori language in the home.

“Preliminary analysis suggests that Maori language initiatives need to be better co-ordinated across both formal and non- formal sectors,” said Mason Durie, leader of the Massey University study which concentrates on the revitalisation and maintenance of the Maori language.

“Further energy and resources need to be focused more strongly on helping families to establish and maintain Maori language environments in their homes,” said Professor Durie.

As part of the Massey University study, surveys and interviews were conducted with selected Maori language households throughout New Zealand. Information from these will help researchers to suggest options and strategies for promoting Maori language use at the household level.

The research which is an investment of the Public Good Science Fund, also included an investigation of individual members of Maori language households. It looked at the way the language proficiency of an individual is acquired and the barriers and difficulties experienced in maintaining Maori language within the household.

"The research programme was established in 1995, and since then it has focused on building Maori language teaching and learning resources, as well as encouraging Maori language in the home," said Professor Durie.

"A sub-sample of five individuals who display an exemplary use of the language have been involved in furthering the study by looking at the way they use Maori language. This will also form the basis for the development and publication of new resource material."

The programme has also developed a user-friendly database written in Maori that catalogues and comprehensively describes published Maori language resource material.

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