I am heartened by the level of public response to the Crown’s draft Māori language strategy, just one month after its launch.
The goal to have one million New Zealanders speaking basic te reo Māori by 2040 has captured the nation’s interest.
We’ve had over 300 individual responses already, most of which came in the very first week. Te reo Māori is clearly something New Zealanders really care about. That certainly doesn’t mean the responses are all in agreement. We’re getting a diverse range of opinions, from a diverse range of people. It’s wonderful.
All constructive feedback is welcome so the final strategy is robust and reflects the views of people who care about the long term place of te reo Māori in New Zealand. Comments range from enthusiastic support – ‘The concept of a quarter of our country [having] basic te reo skills excites me’ – to doubt, ‘It seems too unrealistic and unachievable’. People have suggested the goal of valuing Māori as part of national identity by 2040, should be fast-tracked to 2035. Others say, ‘Language is not a defining measure of national identity’.
Overall there is support for the strategy. Wider themes are also emerging to do with the role of teachers, compulsory reo Māori in schools and the place of non-Māori New Zealanders in the future of the language. If you haven’t given feedback yet there’s still time to take a look at our ideas and tell us what you think. Help to secure a place for our language in our future.
To download the Maihi Karauna and make a submission go to tpk.nz/maihikarauna