September 15, 2022
Te reo becoming leadership essential
Māori Language Commission chief executive Ngahiwi Apanui is looking forward to a time when a majority of New Zealand politicians can speak te reo Māori fluently.
It’s the 47th Maori Language Week and commission polling shows eight in 10 New Zealanders see te reo as an integral part of national identity.
Mr Apanui says that’s great, but he expects a tipping point in 2050 when more than half the population is projected to be non-white.
“2050 is an important time and part of the reason we’re doing what we are doing is to prepare our people to lead because if te reo Maori isn’t a key qualification for being a leader, the leader of parliament or any leader in New Zealand, then we haven’t done our job properly,” he says.
Ngahiwi Apanui says a totally bilingual nation by 2050 is a lofty goal – but achievable.