Kia ora e te whānau! It’s Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori once again – an opportunity for all of us, no matter where we are on our te reo journey, to give te reo Māori a go.
This year, as we celebrate Māori Language Week, we are also marking the anniversary of Te Petihana, the Māori Language Petition.
Fifty years ago, Te Petihana was presented to Parliament, leading the way in the efforts to raise awareness for te reo Māori and ultimately revive this taonga. This week is an opportunity to commemorate our past and present Māori Language champions, and advance our own te reo journeys.
While there is still a long way to go, much mahi has been done in the past 50 years to ensure te reo is still living and thriving in its native country. Together, we have worked hard to ensure we are supporting, promoting and delivering for te reo Māori kaupapa.
We want all ākonga in Aotearoa to use te reo in the classroom every day, and our Government have set the ambitious goal of a million Kiwis speaking te reo Māori by 2040.
To help achieve this, we’ve boosted funding to grow the number of kaimahi with our Te Ahu o Te Reo Māori initiative. We’ve increased funding for Kōhanga Reo to help the youngest New Zealanders learn the language. Alongside this, we’re making sure Aotearoa New Zealand’s history is taught in all schools and kura, which will also help to strengthen te reo.
Earlier this year, we delivered on our promise to make Matariki a public holiday. It was exciting to see Kiwis across the motu come together to celebrate our first Te Ao Māori public holiday and embrace mātauranga Māori.
We are working to strengthen the Māori media sector through the Māori Broadcasting Strategy. Ensuring high-quality Māori content is available to all New Zealanders will further uplift te reo Māori and help strengthen cultural and national identity.
Those who signed the petition may have struggled to imagine a fluent te reo speaker as Speaker of the House, yet our new Speaker, Adrian Rurawhe, is.
While whānau tell us much of the actions taken by this Government are changes they never thought they’d see, we remain steadfast to the kupu of inspiration spoken by Peeni Henare's grandfather, Ta James Henare “Kua tawhiti kē to haerenga mai, kia kore e haere tonu. He nui rawa o mahi, kia kore e mahi tonu," - you have come too far not to go further, you have done too much not to do more.
Te Ao Māori is what makes New Zealand unique in the world. Labour is committed to doing what we can to grow our indigenous language – but we all have a role to play to protect and champion te reo Māori. Beyond this week, we encourage you to find ways to uplift this beautiful taonga. You can find some resources to get you started here.
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