The historic MÄori Language (Te Reo MÄori) 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 MÄori and English, with the MÄori version to prevail in the event of conflict between the two versions.
In his speech in Parliament today, MÄori Development Minister Te Ururoa Flavell said that the bill as amended by the MÄori Affairs Committee, will protect, promote and revitalise te reo MÄori.
"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 MÄori leadership of MÄori language revitalisation and it reinforces the Crown’s responsibilities to te reo MÄori."
Mr Flavell said the bill, as reported back, has been strengthened.
"It recognises the contribution and commitment of the Crown to te reo MÄori. It requires both the Crown and iwi and MÄori to work in partnership. Both have roles and responsibilities for te reo.
"The bill establishes Te MÄtÄwai, an independent statutory entity to provide leadership on behalf of iwi and MÄori in their role as kaitiaki of the MÄori language.
"Te MÄtÄwai will continue as an independent statutory body to act on behalf of Iwi and MÄori to provide leadership in promoting the health and wellbeing of the MÄori language for iwi and MÄori and at a community level.
"Te MÄtÄwai will also to support, inform and influence the Crown’s initiatives to protect, promote and revitalise the MÄori language."
The bill will give legislative status to two new MÄori language strategies.
One, Maihi Karauna will be the responsibility of the Crown, and focus on national level issues. The other, Maihi MÄori will be the responsibility of iwi and MÄori through Te MÄtÄwai. It will focus on objectives, policies and related matters at the Iwi, hapÅ«, whÄnau and community level.
Mr Flavell said that iwi and MÄori throughout the country had begun meeting to work out how they would select members of Te MÄtÄwai.
"We want to be ready to swing into action as soon as the bill is passed," he said.
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