[lg policy] Labour targets Maori speaking teachers

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at GMAIL.COM
Tue Jul 22 14:52:52 UTC 2014

Labour targets Maori speaking teachers

Mani Dunlop, Te Manu Korihi

Updated at 8:13 pm on 22 July 2014

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*The Labour Party says it will focus on increasing the number of Te Reo
speaking teachers, as part of its language policy.*

Te Reo is a big political issue for some candidates - with some saying the
language is one of their main campaign issues.

The party's Maori Affairs spokesperson, Nanaia Mahuta said its Te Reo Maori
strategy was not only for Maori but for all New Zealanders.

She said one of the main goals was to increase the number of proficient
Maori speaking teachers, but she accepted that would be a big challenge, as
the country didn't have enough kaiako to respond to the growing levels of

Labour Party leader David Cunliffe said ultimately, the idea was for
everyone to have the ability to learn the language if they wanted to - and
he was confident that that was achievable.

Mr Cunliffe was quick to make it clear that making Te Reo compulsory in
schools is not their policy and that no-one will be forced to learn the

He describes the language as a beautiful taonga and when asked if he
himself would learn Te Reo, he said he hoped that there would be time later
in his life to improve his reo.

Labour also says it will ensure schools are meeting the needs of Maori
students, by making the Education Review Office's requirements concerning
Maori more rigourous.

Other parts of the policy include continued support for Maori Television
and iwi radio and reviewing the contribution those mediums have to raising
proficiency levels of Te Reo.

A labour supporter and the veteran broadcaster Haare Williams said Te Reo
is part of the wairua of the country, and needed to be nurtured.

He said Aotearoa had come a long way and he no longer felt the hostility
toward the language that he did ten years ago.

Mr Williams believes the Labour Party's policy will put the future of Te
Reo Rangatira on the right track.

Later this week, Parliament will begin hearing the Maori Party-designed
government bill to pass governance of Te Reo to iwi - in which the Labour
Party has said that the policy falls short of what it could achieve.

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