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Māori Language Bill Passes First Reading

Hon Dr Pita Sharples

Minister of Māori Affairs

Thursday 24 July 2014 Press Release
Māori Language Bill Passes First Reading

Māori Affairs Minister, Hon Dr Pita Sharples, says he is pleased that the Māori Language Bill passed its first reading this afternoon with the support of the majority of the House.

Dr Sharples said “As kaitiaki of te reo Māori, iwi should have more say and leadership over the Crown’s te reo strategy. This Bill, and the establishment of Te Mātāwai, will enable that to happen.”

The Bill establishes a new entity called Te Mātāwai to lead and direct Te Taura Whiri I Te Reo Māori, Te Māngai Pāho, and Māori Television. It will also absorb the role of Te Pūtahi Pāoho, Māori Television’s Electoral College.

“Te Mātāwai will be made up of seven representatives from the seven dialectal regions; three representatives from Māori language organisations, and two Crown representatives.”

“This model has received support from iwi around the country, including Ngāti Porou, Waikato-Tainui, Ngāpuhi, and Ngāti Kahungunu. It has also been supported by many national Māori language organisations.”

“Consultation on the new Māori Language Strategy began in 2010 with Te Paepae Motuhake, and will continue through the legislative process,” said Dr Sharples.

The Bill, which passed its first reading today, will now be referred to the Māori Affairs Select Committee for consideration under the next Parliament following the election.

“The select committee process offers another opportunity for public submissions to be made on the legislation. I am confident, however, that the merits of this proposal speak for themselves. It is a piece of legislation which empowers tangata whenua to lead with the Crown on Māori language revitalisation; and which empowers us through our iwi to set our own strategy and direction for the future.”

“I am pleased to have taken the Māori Language Strategy this far, and look forward to seeing this legislation move through its final readings from outside parliament with the support of iwi and Maori,” said Dr Sharples.

Dr Sharples is retiring from Parliament at this election, and is delivering his valedictory speech at 5.15pm this afternoon.


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