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The Maori Language Gets a Boost From the Tribunal

PRESS RELEASE

The Maori Language Gets a Boost From the Tribunal

MANA Leader and MP for Te Tai Tokerau Hone Harawira

Thursday 18 October


“The Tribunal’s report on the Kohanga Reo claim confirms what Maori have known for the last 30 years” said MANA leader and MP for Tai Tokerau Hone Harawira “that governments have breached the Treaty of Waitangi by systemically failing to fund and support Kohanga Reo’s Maori language strategy”

Harawira hailed the Tribunal report as a landmark ruling for Kohanga Reo which called on the government to apologise for its failings and appoint an independent adviser to oversee an urgent programme to: overhaul policy, increase participation, improve quality, increase funding and provide the support necessary for upgrade and maintenance of Kohanga facilities.

“It’s a bloody good report actually” said Harawira “and covers the whole range of issues that Iritana (Tawhiwhirangi, past chair of the National Kohanga Reo Trust) and her colleagues have been raising consistently for the last 20 years”.

“Like many other Maori initiatives which began with great hope, Kohanga Reo has been hamstrung by crippling compliance requirements which run counter to Kohanga’s whanau-based philosophy of language revitalisation”.

“Language is the critical element in the survival of any culture, and the kuia of Waiwhetu breathed life into Maori culture when they gave birth to Kohanga Reo which went on to spectacular growth, before eventually stumbling at the door of bureaucracy”.

Harawira said that recent Tribunal reports on the Foreshore and Seabed and Water had been ignored by both Labour and National so he wouldn’t be surprised if this one was shelved as well.

“And having a Maori for Minister of Education and Associate Minister of Education doesn’t change the fact that their government has shown scant regard for Maori aspirations up until now, and is unlikely to change its views now”.

“Still, today is a day to celebrate the report of the Tribunal the vision of the Trust and the commitment that Maori parents continue to make to Kohanga Reo even when times are hard”.

ENDS

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