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Maori students demand Govt honour te reo guarantee

National Maori University Students’ Association

Māori students demand Government honour te reo Māori guarantee

Approaching the conclusion of Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori (National Māori Language Week), Maori students are demanding the government honour the guarantees made in the Treaty of Waitangi for the Māori language.

“We celebrate te Wiki O Te Reo as an opportunity to reflect on the beauty of our language, and its place as the central pillar of our culture” said Veronica Tawhai, Kaitūhono of Te Mana Ākonga. “Yet for Māori students, the debt accrued in learning our language is also a sad reminder of the failure of government in this area”.

“Te Reo Māori is a taonga (treasure). Its continued possession by Māori is guaranteed under the Treaty of Waitangi. In tertiary education, it is clear the government are failing to honour that guarantee.”

“It is not a guarantee when access is determined by whether or not you can pay for it. Charging student fees for te reo Māori courses is just that”.

There are some fee – free courses available for Māori language learners at the beginner levels. However, the majority of Māori language papers and courses across tertiary institutions carry the usual associated costs to the student.

“The current Tertiary Education Strategy stresses both the Treaty of Waitangi and the provision of Māori language. Once again these policy documents have no follow-through”.

Te Mana Ākonga demands 100% subsidy by government of Māori language courses across all tertiary institutions. “We look forward to the day when the government will start to honour its Treaty of Waitangi promises, and deliver to Māori students the guaranteed access to this treasure that is rightfully ours”.


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