News And Events
Maori Language Week23 July 2015
A language revives:
Every year since 1975 New Zealand has marked Māori Language Week. This is a time for all New Zealanders to celebrate te reo Māori (the Māori language) and to use more Māori phrases in everyday life. In 2015 Māori Language Week is from 27 July-2 August; the theme is 'Whāngaihia te reo Māori ki ngā mātua': helping parents to pass te reo on to their children. This is part of the underlying theme of Māori Language Week, ‘Arohatia te Reo – cherish the language’.
Te reo Māori is undergoing a resurgence and more people speak the language. There are Māori-language schools, Māori radio stations, and a Māori television channel. There was a time when some people objected to hearing Māori greetings such as ‘Kia ora’. The campaign to revive the language has been a long one.
The future of te reo Māori was the subject of a claim before the Waitangi Tribunal in 1985. The tribunal’s recommendations were far-reaching. Māori became an official language of New Zealand in 1987, alongside English. Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori was established in the same year to promote te reo. Along with the Human Rights Commission and Te Puni Kōkiri, it plays a key role in the annual Māori Language Week.
In the last 200 years the history of the Māori language (te reo Māori) has been one of ups and downs. At the beginning of the 19th century it was the predominant language spoken in Aotearoa/New Zealand. As more English speakers arrived in New Zealand, the Māori language was increasingly confined to Māori communities. By the mid-20th century there were concerns that the language was dying out.
Major initiatives launched from the 1980s have brought about a revival of te reo. In the early 21st century, more than 130,000 people of Māori ethnicity could speak and understand te reo, one of the three official languages of New Zealand (the others are English and New Zealand Sign Language).
Information obtained from website http://tetaurawhiri.govt.nz/
To find out more, also visit http://tetaurawhiri.govt.nz/ - Maori Language Commission website.