January 26, 2014
Plan gives iwi control of reo funds
Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples is determined to push through changes to the way Maori language initiatives are managed and funded before his parliamentary career ends at the election.
The Maori language commission Te Taura Whiri has announced a major research programme to assess the health of te reo Maori and identify the most effective ways to preserve and revive it.
Dr Sharples says he won’t wait for the outcome before pushing through with a plan to create an iwi-based electoral college to appoint to boards of agencies like Te Taura Whiri and Te Mangai Paho, the Maori broadcast funding agency.
He acknowledges there are risks.
"Critics are saying ‘You’re just setting up iwi to fight amongst themselves.’ Well so what. We’ve got to get over the fighting stage. We’re fighting over this, fighting over that. If iwi cannot work together, we are doomed, so this is a golden opportunity for them to get behind this strategy and take command of the development of our reo Maori, because all this money is coming from government, it’s free money in terms of iwi, so use it wisely and take control of it," Dr Sharples says.
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