Andre Cramblit andrekar at NCIDC.ORG
Mon Sep 29 17:47:40 UTC 2003

25-year plan to lift Maori language


Government departments will have to develop five-year plans to make the
Maori language part of their services.

The measure is part of a 25-year plan, being issued today, to revitalise
the Maori language through use in the community, rather than through
formal education.

Maori has been an official language of New Zealand since 1987.

A report on the plan says it is important for people to be able to use
Maori in dealing with public services.

It says this will "support the increased use of the Maori language and
will enhance the value of the Maori language within New Zealand

Making the speaking of Maori a normal part of family and community
settings is the key to the plan.

Its key goal says: "By 2028, Maori language will be widely spoken by

 In particular, the Maori language will be in common use within Maori
whanau, homes and communities. All New Zealanders will appreciate the
value of the Maori language to New Zealand society."

Government measures will include providing public services in the Maori
language, continuing support for Maori broadcasting and education,
Maori language arts such as kapa haka and speech competitions, and
having Maori language archives in the National Library.

The Ministry of Maori Development, Te Puni Kokiri, will monitor the
progress of all agencies.

But much of the way the plan will work is yet to be determined. This
will be done by communities themselves.

"Maori have the lead role to play in revitalising the Maori language
because ultimately the language is a Maori taonga," says the report.

Language revitalisation requires planning at community level, it says,
and iwi, hapu and other Maori organisations are best placed to do this.

The report says tribal and regional differences in Maori must be

Since the 1970s, the revitalisation of the language has depended on
building a critical mass of speakers through formal education.

While that has to continue, the report says, the plan will focus on
greater use of the Maori language in the community.

"By normalising the use of Maori language in whanau settings, language
acquisition by future generations will become an accepted feature of
everyday life and this will see the language flourish."

Maori Affairs Minister Parekura Horomia says in the report that the
health of the Maori language was severely compromised through the 20th

Maori initiated ways to retain it, supported by the Government.

That provided a solid foundation, but greater planning and co-ordination
are required for the next 25 years.

Facts on te reo

* About 130,000 people - 25 per cent of the Maori population - speak

* 68 per cent of Maori believe having more Maori spoken in public is

* Fewer than 1 per cent of non-Maori speak Maori.

* Most non-Maori have a positive or neutral attitude towards Maori
learning and speaking Maori in Maori settings.

* 40 per cent of non-Maori support the use of Maori in wider society.

* About 600 Maori language immersion early childhood services, mainly
kohanga reo, are educating 10,000 children, or about 15 per cent of
Maori children.

* About 14 per cent of Maori school students - 21,500 pupils - are
completing some of their learning in Maori language.

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