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Action demanded beyond Te Wiki o te Reo

29 July 2005

Action demanded beyond Te Wiki o te Reo

Concluding Te Wiki o Te Reo Mâori (Mâori Language Week), Maori students demand the government take action to fulfil its guarantees for te reo Mâori.

“Te Wiki o Te Reo is great, an appropriate celebration of our indigenous language,” said Veronica Tawhai, Kaitûhono of Te Mana Âkonga. “But for the government to pat themselves on the back during that week, and forget about Mâori language for the rest of the year is just not good enough”.

“As a taonga (treasure), te reo Mâori is guaranteed under the Treaty of Waitangi. The government needs to start addressing that guarantee.”

At the beginner level, there are some courses available for te reo Mâori. These, however, are few. Most courses, including those at advanced levels, carry the usual fees and course costs associated with tertiary education.

“Many Mâori students study te reo Mâori only because their families have been dispossessed of their language” said Miss Tawhai. “The effects of colonisation have left many families stripped of their native tongue”.

“That their language now be sold back to them is disgusting”.

There are concerns that te reo Mâori courses will be targeted in the recent funding cuts and reviews of certificate and diploma courses.

“It is a Treaty right and a human right for peoples to be able to enjoy and advance their indigenous language and the knowledges held within that language” urged Miss Tawhai.

Te Mana Âkonga demands action from the government to develop tertiary education policy that ensures guaranteed and fee – free provision of te reo Mâori courses across all institutions. This would indicate governments commitment to te reo Mâori as a national treasure.

ENDS

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