September 16, 2021
Māori support hard won for reo petition
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A veteran Māori activist says one of the biggest barriers for the 1972 Māori Language Petition was convincing Māori it was a good idea.
Tame Iti was running a tent embassy at parliament at the time.
He remembers the conversations that led up to it.
“Our biggest mahi was trying to convince our population to tautoko, to awhi, to support this whole kaupapa. At that time everything was geared up how to be a Pākehā,” he says.
Mr Iti says the petition brought together a wide variety of Māori groups all working towards a common kaupapa – and he’s celebrating now how far te reo Māori has penetrated mainstream.