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Shortland Sells The Language Short

Shortland Sells The Language Short

"I couldn't believe Wassie would sell out on the reo" said Maori Party Leader and Tai Tokerau MP Hone Harawira, after Waihoroi Shortland admitted that the Maori Party did not support the Maori Language being compulsory in schools.

The Maori Party has issued a statement saying they want Maori to be 'compulsorily available' but Harawira said "that's the compulsory deal you get when it isn't compulsory"

Harawira said principals in mainstream would either ignore the Maori Party call or if forced to comply, would simply tell Maori students that they could learn Maori . but they might have to give up Kapahaka (or something else) and the trips that went with it, to cover the costs.

"The Maori Party position is essentially how you talk tough when you don't want to upset your boss" said Harawira "and I'm disappointed in Wassie for buying it"

Harawira said that compulsory Maori language in schools had been the clarion call of Maori educationalists for decades, and that the Maori Party decision had undermined that fight, without consultation, and without reference to those who had fought for the language in the first place.

"You can't be the 'authentic Maori voice' when you won't even back the language" said Harawira "I suspect it's because National told them not to push it, so they aren't."

"But, as in Wales, if you want the language to survive, you have to be bold, you have to be innovative, and you have to make it fun to learn and fun to use as well.

"I think the Maori Party got scared, and so what they're offering is neither bold nor innovative, and it sure ain't fun watching Te Reo Maori get kicked in the teeth by the Maori Party.

"MANA's position is simple" said Harawira. "Maori is the indigenous language of this land. It is also an official language of this land - just like English. If English is a compulsory subject, then Maori should be compulsory too. And when we say compulsory we mean compulsory"

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