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Crown acknowledges its role in te reo Māori struggle

Hon Te Ururoa Flavell

Minita Whanaketanga Māori

Minister for Māori Development

5 April 2016

Crown acknowledges its role in te reo Māori struggle

The Māori Development Minister will move an amendment to the Māori Language (Te Reo Māori) Bill today to acknowledge that the Crown’s past policies and practices concerning the Māori language have had a detrimental effect on generations of iwi and Māori.

“The Crown acknowledges it has contributed to the decline in Māori language and its previous actions have had a negative impact on our language and culture”, says Te Ururoa Flavell.

“Māori are familiar with the painful memories recalled by our grandparents’ and parents’ generations who were discouraged, and in some cases physically abused, for speaking te reo Māori at school or in public places.

“I hope the statement goes some way to acknowledging the pain and loss suffered as a result of successive Crown policies that have denied and suppressed our right to use te reo Māori”, he says.

Mr Flavell says the acknowledgement in the Bill is consistent with evidence presented at Waitangi Tribunal hearings and Treaty settlement deeds that record the specific impact Crown’s actions have had on several iwi.

“Those Treaty settlement deeds include powerful accounts about how Crown policies and practices have eroded a tribe’s ability to keep our language and culture alive.”

Mr Flavell says this amendment is not an attempt to address all historic grievances around te reo Māori.

“Importantly, the amendment to the bill is also forward-looking. It expressly states the Crown’s commitment to work in partnership with iwi and Māori to actively protect and promote te reo Māori.

“We need a collective effort from the Crown, iwi, Māori and the general public if te reo Māori is to thrive in the future.”


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