April 06, 2016
Settler pressure to destroy Te Reo Maori
Historian Paul Moon says there needs to be acknowledgment across society of the long-running cultural conspiracy to destroy te reo Maori.
The new Maori language (Te Reo Maori) Bill has been amended to include acknowledgement of the crown’s role in language suppression, including punishing children for speaking their own language in the classroom or playground.
Professor Moon says while the first missionary-run schools were conducted entirely in te reo Maori, about 1846 the settler government started setting up state schools where the language of instruction was English.
His research shows Maori were ridiculed for using te reo when Europeans were present.
"I’ve got the quotes. There’s seven or eight different settlers who in their own ways described te reo rather like you would describe an animal making a noise. They say people didn’t speak te reo, they barked it, they screamed it, they snarled it, they shouted it, they use all these animalistic terms to describe the language. It’s presented as an impediment. Every one had the same mindset. We have to get rid of this language," he says.
Professor Moon says Maori communities were virtually blackmailed into providing land and funding for schools if they wanted their tamariki educated, with the English coming as part of the package.
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