February 04, 2014
Reo reform a threat to rights
The New Zealand Maori Council says Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples’ plans for te reo Maori are in breach of a negotiated treaty settlement.
Dr Sharples intends to talk to the Iwi Leaders Forum in Waitangi today about handing responsibility for language revival to iwi, including creating an iwi-driven electoral college to appoint the boards of the Maori Language Commission, Maori Broadcast funding agency and Maori Television.
Maori Council co-chair Maanu Paul says those agencies exist because of claims taken by the council and Maori language and broadcasting claimants, not iwi.
He says Dr Sharples is on the wrong track.
"The language renaissance happened in the cities. It didn’t happen in iwi groups. Where is the language alive? It is alive in the cities where the kohanga reo are flourishing, and it is essential I think for this Government that Maori are not about to allow this Government to take away the rights that they have acquired through a negotiated process," Mr Paul says.
The government will hold seven consultation hui on the language strategy this month, with submissions closing February 28.
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