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Historic Bill one step closer to law - Flavell

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

The historic Māori Language (Te Reo Māori) Bill is one step closer to being law after it passed its second reading in Parliament today.

The bill has been reported back as a dual language bill. It will be the first bill to be enacted in both te reo Māori and English, with the Māori version to prevail in the event of conflict between the two versions.

In his speech in Parliament today, Māori Development Minister Te Ururoa Flavell said that the bill as amended by the Māori Affairs Committee, will protect, promote and revitalise te reo Māori.

"The vision for the future of the language will be examined and assessed through the requirements of this bill.

"It promotes and supports iwi and Māori leadership of Māori language revitalisation and it reinforces the Crown’s responsibilities to te reo Māori."

Mr Flavell said the bill, as reported back, has been strengthened.

"It recognises the contribution and commitment of the Crown to te reo Māori. It requires both the Crown and iwi and Māori to work in partnership. Both have roles and responsibilities for te reo.

"The bill establishes Te Mātāwai, an independent statutory entity to provide leadership on behalf of iwi and Māori in their role as kaitiaki of the Māori language.

"Te Mātāwai will continue as an independent statutory body to act on behalf of Iwi and Māori to provide leadership in promoting the health and wellbeing of the Māori language for iwi and Māori and at a community level.

"Te Mātāwai will also to support, inform and influence the Crown’s initiatives to protect, promote and revitalise the Māori language."

The bill will give legislative status to two new Māori language strategies.

One, Maihi Karauna will be the responsibility of the Crown, and focus on national level issues. The other, Maihi Māori will be the responsibility of iwi and Māori through Te Mātāwai. It will focus on objectives, policies and related matters at the Iwi, hapū, whānau and community level.

Mr Flavell said that iwi and Māori throughout the country had begun meeting to work out how they would select members of Te Mātāwai.

"We want to be ready to swing into action as soon as the bill is passed," he said.

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