The Minister for Māori Development, Nanaia Mahuta says increasing the number of rangatahi who can speak te reo Māori is crucial for the future of the language while school leaders warn it will take time for the education system to catch up.
As Te Wiki o te Reo Māori begins, she is encouraging rangatahi across Aotearoa New Zealand to give life to the theme of the week, Kia Kaha te Reo Māori.
“There are events taking place all over Aotearoa that encourage people to celebrate te reo Māori. I heard of everything ranging from parades to te reo Māori yoga sessions to karanga and whakkōrero workshops.
“It is heartening to see each year how more and more rangatahi from diverse backgrounds are embracing these sorts of events,” Minister Nanaia Mahuta says. Rangatahi are a target group in the Maihi Karauna (the Crown Māori language strategy) and their participation in actively learning and speaking the language is a key focus.
NZEI Matua Takawaenga Laures Park warned Stuff that before we get too excited about big changes, we should remember it might take 20 years or more for te reo Māori to be “normalised” in schools.
“I would like it to happen right now, of course, but the reality is, it will take way longer than that. We’re probably looking at a good 20 years.”
PPTA president Jack Boyle estimated the curriculum would take 10 years to settle into te reo as a priority.
Nanaia Mahuta added: “We launched the Maihi Karauna in February and are well underway with implementation of the first wave of initiatives. We have had rangatahi workshops across the country to get their feedback on innovative ways that would increase the uptake of learning and speaking the language amongst both Māori and non-Māori youth,” Minister Mahuta says.
“A number of other activities are also underway. I look forward to finding out how rangatahi respond to the Snap-Reo initiative launched this week by Te Māngai Pāho – a pilot series of quick, humorous micro-lessons in te reo Māori designed to improve vocabulary and idiom,” Minister Mahuta says.
“Last week the Ministry of Education launched Kauwhata Reo – a new central online hub for te reo Māori education resources – making them available and accessible to everyone on one central platform.
“This year is also the UNESCO Year of Indigenous Languages which provides a platform to raise global attention on the risks confronting indigenous languages around the world. Our strategy – the Maihi Karauna complements and supports UNESCO by implementing a cross agency approach responsible for creating a New Zealand society where te reo Māori is valued, learned and used.
“I congratulate everyone in their efforts to promote, speak, encourage and support Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori. Every time we use te reo Māori we are actively contributing to the revitalisation of the language – and in doing so also help strengthen our national identity,” Nanaia Mahuta says.