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Learning Maori Might Make It Easier to Learn Mandarin


Learning Maori Might Make It Easier to Learn Mandarin

Trade Minister Tim Groser is calling for Maori to be made compulsory in New Zealand schools.

Speaking today on TV3’s “The Nation”, Mr Groser stressed that it was a personal view but he believed we should be teaching Maori to every five year old.

”This is turning the usual Pakeha argument on its head, because what I think should happen is that you introduce very young children from New Zealand to the idea of biculturalism and more than one language, and then they will be able to learn other languages as their personal circumstances fit,’ HE SAID.

“There's a whole lot of research to back this view up.

“This is not a conventional view of the Maori language issue, understand that.”

Mr Groser said learning another language gave people the ability to look at things from a different cultural perspective and pick up on this.

“ So when I was Ambassador to Indonesia for example I would often see highly effective Australian or New Zealand people operating in that market, didn’t have necessarily a lot of experience in Indonesia, but they’d spent 10 years in Hong Kong or Thailand and so on, and so forth,” he said.

“Once you’ve accustomed your mind to working in a different cultural space you can learn another cultural space and or language so much faster.”

Mr Groser argued that New Zealand was enjoying considerable political and business success in Indonesia and China, in part because of the way the left wing of New Zealand politics had developed an independent foreign policy in the 1980s.

“What it's evolved into is genuine independence which I think is noted, it's now essentially shared by both the two major political parties, I don’t think it has a left wing character,” he said.

Mr Groser said that partly because of this and also the work New Zealand had put in, he believed no other developed country had a relationship like we had with China.

“We would never have this relationship but for sustained efforts of successive New Zealand governments to support a rational policy, quite independent minded towards China,” he said.

The Nation is produced by Front Page Ltd for TV3 and NZ on Air.
Richard Harman

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