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More Māori Than Ever Before Answer The Call, But Funding Still Falls Short

It is clear that the passion and dedication to restore te reo Māori continues to grow within iwi, hapū and whānau across Aotearoa.

Te Mātāwai, the independent statutory entity legislated to act on behalf of Māori to revitalise te reo Māori has been inundated with applications from Māori whānau, marae, kāinga, hapori and iwi for the 2023 Investment Programme, a contestable fund.

This year, Te Mātāwai received an incredible five hundred applications, marking an almost one hundred percent increase from last year.

As Reikura Kahi, co-chair of Te Mātāwai, shares, “The groundswell of funding applications signals growing recognition amongst our people, and highlights their immense commitment to revitalise the Māori language.”

However, this increased demand for revitalisation initiatives far surpasses the funding allocated to Te Mātāwai.

This year, Te Mātāwai received applications totalling a record-breaking $39 million, but only had a $10.8 million appropriation available for distribution.

Te Mātāwai has received an increase today of $2.606 million, taking the full appropriation to $17.3 million.

The Tumu Whakarae of Te Mātāwai, Poia Rewi, explained, “One of the hardest parts of the job is hearing from more and more disheartened applicants each year as they miss out on a much-needed lift in funding. This increase, therefore, is a welcome boost.”

Te Mātāwai was established seven years ago. Despite the growing recognition of the importance of te reo Māori to the nation and increased funding initiatives to Crown agencies, Te Mātāwai has received no increase in funding until now.

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The Te Mātāwai Board has been clear in their message to the Ministers of Te Rūnanga Reo, the Governance Partnership Group and the Māori Affairs Select Committee, expressing the need for more pūtea to enable and empower our people on the ground.

Co-chair Bernie O’Donnell sums up “Although the news today is positive, the journey to bring life and vibrancy back into our language will take many more years and we will continue to advocate for more resources focussed on the revitalisation of te reo me ōna tikanga.”

Kia ūkaipō anō te reo, ka reo mauri ora!

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