Te Reo Maori should be compulsory in the education system – NZ Maori Council

Just under half of Māori people have some Te reo Māori speaking ability.

The New Zealand Maori Council has called on the Government to go much further when it comes to the recent announcement around Te Reo Maori in the education system. Raewyn Harrison, Chair of the Councils National Taskforce on Education also reminded the Government that the New Zealand Maori Council has been a fierce advocate of Te Reo Maori for more than a half century.

“To be honest we could go a lot further in fulfilling our aspiration of a million Reo speakers and that has to include a more focussed approach in our education system – and not just with pupils but also teachers, administrators and principals. I’d remind everyone that in 1964 the New Zealand Maori Council and the Maori Education Foundation joined together to advocate that Te Reo Maori be taught in teacher training colleges as a compulsory subject so when teachers stand in front of our Tamariki they have a language and cultural connection with them,” Harrison said

“We have overseas teachers coming in because of the shortage here at home and yet its not compulsory for them to understand Te Reo Maori nor undergo cultural learning – we lose the chance to ensure people understand our culture and that of our tamariki in the school.

“The (Government) statement says tertiary institutions should meaningfully include Māori language and tikanga in their everyday life – but actually that’s not binding – its only guidance which means its not always resourced or enforced,” Harrison said

Harrison has said that the compulsory teaching of Te Reo Maori in schools is on the agenda of the National Hui of the New Zealand Maori Council on the 21st and 22nd of November in Rotorua.

“And by the way lets go right back to the point we were making in 1964 with the then Maori Education Foundation – at the least it should be compulsory within Teacher Training Colleges,” she said.

Meanwhile, more than 1 in 6 Māori adults said they could speak Te reo Māori, and a nearly a third said they could understand the language at least fairly well, Stats NZ Tatauranga Aotearoa says.

Just under half of Māori people had some Te reo Māori speaking ability.

The data on Te reo Māori was collected in Te Kupenga, Tatauranga Aotearoa Stats NZ’s survey of Māori wellbeing, which was answered by almost 8500 individuals of Māori ethnicity and/or descent.

The proportion of those who could speak the language fairly well, well, or very well, varied by age group. Māori people aged 15–24 years and those aged 55 years and over appeared to be among the most likely to speak Te reo Māori at least fairly well.

ENDS.