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E whakanui ana Te Pāti Māori i Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori

21 Hōngongoi 2014

E whakanui ana Te Pāti Māori i Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori

#tekupu #tūmāorimai

The Māori Party joins thousands of other Māori speakers around the country to celebrate Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori which started today. Māori Party Co-leaders Te Ururoa Flavell and Tariana Turia say Māori Language Week is about celebrating our achievements and how far we have come in reviving the language – and it is also about acknowledging how much more we must do to ensure the language survives into the future.

“The Māori Party wants te reo Māori taught to all students at primary school and to be available to every student at secondary school in Aotearoa. If our language is going to survive and thrive, then all our students must leave school with a basic knowledge of the language and the opportunity to take that further at secondary school. So much has been done so far to revive the language, let us not lose momentum now,” says Te Ururoa Flavell.

“We are excited by the new Māori language strategy because it devolves the decision-making back to the iwi – where the mita belongs. We have seen much progress being made by the tribes over the years to revitalise their language and culture through kōhanga reo, kura and tribal wānanga. If we are truly going to achieve self-determination for iwi across all sectors from health to education to te reo Māori, then the iwi role in Te Mātāwai which will govern Te Taura Whiri i Te Reo Māori, Te Māngai Pāho and the Māori Television Service is crucial.”

“There are so many to thank and acknowledge for setting the foundations and paving the way to revive our language. Te reo Māori is now an official language of Aotearoa – thanks to activism by groups like Ngā Tama Toa and the Wellington Māori Language Society – who in 1972 marched to Parliament with a petition that contained 30,000 signatures calling for te reo Māori to be made available at all secondary schools. That is an amazing achievement,” says Tariana Turia.

“We also pay heed to the Te Ataarangi movement which taught te reo through the rākau method and also to the hundreds of kōhanga reo whānau who started off with humble beginnings teaching the language to our tamariki and mokopuna in their homes, garages and marae with little funding but with a whole lot of aroha for the language.”

“Then there are those families and communities who set up immersion classes and bilingual units in schools because they saw the validity and worth of the language and culture in education and the importance of it being taught in mainstream schools – and because they wanted their kids to be able to kōrero. That was taken a step further with kura kaupapa Māori and kura ā Iwi, who against all odds and often much negativity and criticism - grew the total immersion method into a full primary and secondary programme for our children, normalising te reo Māori in school life and in curriculum delivery. Their successes have been documented and we have seen what can be achieved academically when our kids are taught in te reo and from a Māori cultural base,” says Te Ururoa Flavell.

“Then of course there are our wānanga, university and polytechnic classes who are also teaching te reo. We pay special mention to the confederation of Ngāti Raukawa, Ngāti Toa and Te Ātiawa who in their tribal strategic plan Whakatupuranga Ruamano emphasised the goal of language revitalisation for the tribes. They developed the immersion method for adults and in the 1980’s opened their marae for hundreds of te reo speakers many from outside their tribe to immerse themselves in the language for one week. This highly successful method spread throughout the country influencing the now established Kura Reo and most recently Te Panekiretanga o Te Reo Māori – the Institute of Excellence in the Māori Language aimed at improving the quality of the language.”

“We also mihi to the Wellington Māori Language Board - Ngā Kaiwhakapūmau i te Reo Māori and others who took the Māori language claim to the Waitangi Tribunal resulting in legislation that established Te Taura Whiri i Te Reo Māori, Te Māngai Pāho and the Māori Television Service,” says Mrs Turia.

“Our Māori radio stations, Māori programmes on mainstream television and Māori Television have played a vital role in promoting the language through song, kōrero, talkback, sport, film, reality programmes, comedy, news and current affairs. Combined, Māori broadcasters have brought te reo Māori into the homes of thousands of New Zealanders.”

“And of course there are our Māori language events like Te Matatini, Ngā Manu Kōrero and various sporting competitions around the country that promote te reo Māori. We now have generations of children being raised around the language,” says Mr Flavell.

“But we must above all pay tribute to those parents, grandparents and extended families who are raising their children and mokopuna in te reo, speaking Māori to each other at home, in the playground, at the marae, in town and at the sports clubs – passing the language down to the next generation – making it the language of conversation between parents and children, grandparents and mokopuna. Intergenerational transmission of the language is key to the language surviving – and we honour you all for your commitment.”

“If the language becomes an everyday part of the lives of all children in this nation through their education then we will grow the number of Māori speakers every year both Māori and non-Māori. What a great day that will be when we can all speak to each other in te reo Māori, anywhere, anytime in Aotearoa. The Māori Party believes it is a goal worth striving for.”

“Without our language we will lose our culture and the very essence of who we are as indigenous peoples. Let us not allow our language to become extinct like the native huia or moa. Let us ensure we develop a nurturing environment including at our schools around the country, giving te reo Māori the status it deserves and allowing it to remain a living breathing language that thrives for each new generation,” says Te Ururoa Flavell.

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