June 15, 2014
Book assesses value of te reo
A new book The Value of the Maori Language – Te Hua o Te Reo Maori is being launched at a symposium at the Whare Waka on wellington’s waterfront today.
The book and symposium are a joint effort of Nga Pae o te Maramatanga, Victoria University and the University of Otago’s Te Kura Roa research programme.
The 30 contributors look at the efforts Maori are making to revitalise and normalise the language within Aotearoa New Zealand, and the continuing challenge to win the hearts and minds of Pakeha New Zealanders.
Susan Warren from language advocacy group COMET Auckland says such a publication is long overdue.
She says given the continuing decline in the number of fluent speakers as elderly native speakers die off, it’s important that te reo Maori is embraced by the whole country, and not just in the Maori immersion schools.
"And the fact we have to face is over 90 percent of Maori children are in English medium schools. While there is wonderful work being done in kohanga and kura, it’s not reaching the majority of Maori children let alone all the other children of Tamaki Makaurau and of Aotearoa," Ms Warren says.
She says the government has repeatedly failed to prioritise New Zealand’s diversity of languages at a national level.
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