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Education Group Applauds New Te Reo Māori Publication

Education Group Applauds New Te Reo Māori Publication


Education and languages advocacy organisation COMET Auckland has applauded a new book entitled ‘The Value of the Māori Language: Te Hua o Te Reo Māori’ with Chief Executive Susan Warren saying such a publication is long overdue.

Warren says: “We are proud to congratulate Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga on the publication of this wonderful resource.

COMET Auckland is staunch in our position that Te Reo Māori revitalisation is an urgent priority for our nation. The need for languages to be actively provided for and promoted is more crucial than ever before, with a growing and diverse population and increasing levels of inequity. The Māori language is also a lifeline to success for Aotearoa, New Zealand because of the social, cultural and economic benefits that flow from a strong and vibrant Reo speaking society.”

Hauāuru Rawiri, COMET Auckland’s Project Manager Māori Education, adds: “If the language is to survive and flourish, it needs to be valued, and used across the wider community. We believe it should be an issue of citizenship to have access to - and be able to use - both English and Te Reo in our everyday lives.

Aotearoa, kōrerohia te Reo i ngā wā katoa, ki ngā wāhi katoa - New Zealanders, speak the language at all times, at all places."

Warren notes that for the Māori community, Te Reo is a crucial part of identity and culture, supporting tikanga and Māori world views:

“Te Reo uniquely expresses concepts and indigenous knowledge that cannot be expressed clearly in any other language, which means any loss of the language, could risk the loss of this precious knowledge. For these reasons, and so many more, we are right behind Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga in this valuable language and strategy resource.”

Warren continues: “Sadly, in the 12 years between the 2001 and 2013 censuses, the number of speakers of Te Reo Māori in NZ has reduced from 160,527 to 148,395, a loss of nearly 12,000 speakers.

“Less than 4% of the national population now speaks Te Reo well enough to hold a conversation, and in Auckland this proportion is even lower, with only 2.35% of the Tāmaki Makaurau population able to hold a conversation in Te Reo Māori.

“The dramatic drop in Te Reo speakers has happened despite the language revitalisation efforts of government and the community, showing that current strategies are not sufficient to maintain and revitalise the language.

“With the loss of earlier generations of fluent speakers, it is important that language support reaches all age groups, so there are young people coming through as fluent speakers, who can later support their own children’s learning; and also so older whānau and hapū leaders can develop enough fluency to confidently fulfil their role within their iwi.

“The one encouraging feature of the census data is the number of children who speak Te Reo Māori. In 2013, almost a quarter (24.6%) of those who could hold a conversation in Te Reo Māori were children.”

COMET Auckland is part of the Auckland Languages Strategy Group, which is calling for 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.

-Ends-

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