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Māori language is dying

Māori language is dying

The Waitangi Tribunal claim that the Māori language is in a drought.
Fewer children are going through kohanga reo at the same time native speakers are dying off, proportions of Māori speaking te reo have been dropping from census to census despite actual numbers increasing.

With initiatives such as Māori language week, and more public use of maori language phases the revival of Māori language appears strong to those outside the language community. Commentator Dr Rangi Mataamua warned last month that at its current rate of use te reo Māori could die out by 2050.

Labour list MP Shane Jones says resources for Māori language revival need to be closer to the community. The Waitangi Tribunal has identified a fall over the past decade in the number and percentage of Māori children attending Kohanga reo and Kura kaupapa Māori immersion schools, and pointed to what it calls policy failure by successive governments.

Mr Jones, who is seeking the Labour nomination for Tamaki Makaurau, says agencies like the Māori language commission Te Taura Whiri i Te Reo Māori have become too caught up in the centralised Wellington bureaucracy, rather than addressing the needs of the main centres of Māori population

Labour Leader Phil Goff has also voiced his concern at the declining numbers of children entering Te kohanga reo. Goff believes more funding and resources needs to be invested by government to ensure the survival of Te reo.

Meanwhile, The chair of a South Taranaki iwi Esther Tinirau from Ngāa Rauru Kiitahi says the government needs to let iwi say how money should be spent revitalising te reo Māori.

Esther Tinirau took part in consultation with the ministerial review panel looking at the Māori language strategy and sector. Tinirau states that Iwi are best positioned to understand the needs of their people and they have the capacity to manage and allocate funding.

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