NZ Commits to Million Māori Speakers

Māori Development Minister, Hon Nanaia Mahuta, says New Zealand's commitment to ensure basic te reo is spoken by a million people in 2040 took a major step forward today. 

New Zealand's government (often referred to as 'the Crown') launched a language strategy called Maihi Karauna at the biannual music and cultural Māori festival Te Matatini in recognition of the festival’s passion and commitment to te reo. This strategy is intended to complement the Maihi Māori (a Māori language strategy developed by and for iwi, Māori and Māori language communities and stakeholders) which supports iwi, hapū and whānau aspirations towards te reo Māori revitalization. 

“Te reo Māori is special to Aotearoa it provides a unique context to experience our culture and history and the language is an important way to share our values and world view. 

“Te Matatini is an ideal forum to launch the Maihi Karauna as it draws together in the kapahaka art form the aspects of Māori oral histories through waiata, haka, mōteatea and poi compositions. 

“The Crown has long held the responsibility to protect te reo Māori as a taonga and the Maihi Karauna sets out a context for that responsibility to inform how Government can achieve this for all of us to use, share and protect te reo Māori. 

“I know that for te reo to thrive by 2040 we all need to do our part, working together to make te reo a working, living language,” said Nanaia Mahuta. 

Minister Mahuta says they are bold goals stretching out to 2040 and a practical step forward will be through initiatives which are focussed on rangatahi. Three areas of focus include: 

  • Hosting rangatahi regional workshops and a national summit. 
  • A social marketing campaign to promote the value of te reo Māori. 
  • Snap-reo, a series of quick, micro-lessons in te reo Māori, available on a variety of media.  

“We want everyone to feel supported in their efforts to use te reo, wherever they are and with or talking to. Importantly we want young people to feel confident in who they are and coming from New Zealand – a way to achieve this is to share a connection through te reo Māori,” said Nanaia Mahuta.

 Maihi Karauna Cabinet Paper available here https://www.tpk.govt.nz/en/a-matou-kaupapa/maihi-karauna

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