Educators welcome proposal for Te Reo Maori in schools

NZEI says all children should have the opportunity to learn te reo Māori.

NZEI Te Riu Roa has welcomed a renewed call from the Green Party for universal te reo Maori, and want to take it one step further starting te reo Māori in early childhood education.

NZEI Te Riu Roa Matua Takawaenga Laures Park said all children should have the opportunity to learn te reo Māori and that having universal provision would make the biggest difference in the well-being of tamariki Māori.

“NZEI Te Riu Roa has been calling for te reo Māori to be a core curriculum subject for a number of years now. There is strong public support for this, and it is time for the Government to act.

“We would like to see te reo Māori begin in early childhood education as it is in kōhanga reo,” Park said.

“There would need to be support for educators to enact the proposal.”

Last year Te Taura Whiri I Te Reo Māori (Maori Language Commission) released a report that proposed raising the status and increasing the use of Te Reo by making it a core curriculum subject beginning in Year 1 in 2020 until it is included in all levels up to Year 13 by 2037.

NZEI President Lynda Stuart said teachers understood the importance of nurturing Te Reo for all New Zealanders but often didn’t feel equipped or confident enough to teach it effectively.

“We encourage the government to embrace this proposal and resource it to become a reality.

“Learning languages is already part of the curriculum and Te Reo is the language of Aotearoa. Normalising Te Reo makes learning more inclusive for Maori children and must be part of our commitment to the Treaty of Waitangi.

“With the current teacher shortages, overall capacity would also need to be addressed.”