October 02, 2014
Reo part of whole identity package
A Statistics New Zealand study has found use of te reo Maori is linked to culture and identity and has little to do with economic of class factors.
The Ka maro te aho tapu, ka tau te korowai report was drawn from Te Kupenga, a household survey of 7000 Maori.
Analyst Scott Ussher says the new data allows researchers to drill down into aspects of Maori culture and life.
What distinguishes people who can use te reo Maori well or very well is they are likely to have been to kohanga reo or kura kaupapa Maori.
They were almost four times more likely to use the language in the home if they have a thorough knowledge of their tribal identity and other aspects of the culture.
"The report really confirmed that language is integral to Maori culture and an important aspect of cultural identity, while highlighting the relationship between te reo and other aspects of Maori culture, including whether they knew their pepeha, some simple things like wearing a pounamu, or listening to a Maori radio station," Mr Ussher says.
The biggest surprise of the survey was that there was very little correlation between use of te reo Maori and household income, health or other socioeconomic factors.
FOR THE FULL INTERVIEW WITH SCOTT USSHER CLICK ON THE LINK
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