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Minister welcomes Te Wiki o Te Reo Maori

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Māori Affairs Minister Hon Dr Pita Sharples today welcomed the start of Māori Language Week, and is encouraging all New Zealanders to get behind our native language.

"Te reo Māori is an official language of New Zealand. We should be proud of our heritage and ensure that our language endures in Aotearoa, the nation to which it is a home language," said Dr Sharples.

"The theme of Māori Language Week this year is ‘Te Kupu o te Wiki’ (Word of the week) which is a perfect opportunity to pick up some Māori words and incorporate them into your vocabulary or daily routine."

"I’m excited by the waiata ‘Aotearoa’, which has been written for Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori by Stan Walker, featuring Maisey Rika, Ria Hall and Troy Kingi. Promoting our reo for all of New Zealand is what this week is all about."

"It’s also great to see so many businesses and communities across Aotearoa participating in Māori language initiatives this week. It’s important that we all embrace our indigenous language to ensure its survival into the future."

"It would be wonderful if we saw this commitment to our reo carry on through every week of the year," said Dr Sharples.

Dr Sharples said that he is pleased to see the growing awareness and dialogue around contemporary issues in te reo Māori, and that this is a promising step in the journey to revitalise the language.

"This week the Māori Language Bill will be read for a first time in Parliament. The bill establishes an entity called Te Mātāwai to oversee agencies such as Te Taura Whiri i Te Reo Māori, Te Māngai Pāho, and Māori Television."

"Tangata whenua should be determining how best to support our reo into the future and where the Crown’s strategy and resource should be directed. That is the purpose of this bill," said Dr Sharples.

Recent funding to support te reo Māori includes $8.3m per annum in Budget 2013 for whānau, hapū and iwi language initiatives and 265 existing Teach NZ scholarships targeted towards Māori immersion and Secondary Te Reo Māori trainees; and in 2014 $12m operational funding for iwi radio; $30m Māori ICT Development Fund for the production and transmission of Māori language content through digital platforms and for Māori economic development.

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