Topic: Te Reo Māori

Māori advocacy group Ūmere against new Māori Language Bill

updated By Heeni Brown
Te Reo Māori advocacy group Ūmere before Māori Affairs Select Committee

Ūmere is an advocacy group for te reo Māori, a group run by Maraea Hunia whose submission is dead against the Māori Language Bill.

She says it's a waste of time putting money into a new board, and she's not the only one cautioning the Māori Affairs Select Committee on the matter.

“If our needs are taken by the Government's strategy, and our money is being spent by the Government for the Government, that's where we must be careful?” says Dr Wayne Ngata.

On the business table is the Māori Language Bill and Dr Ngata says that changes need to be made in some parts of the Māori Language Bill.

“One of the aims of the Bill is to disestablish the Māori Language Commission, why do you think that is a good thing?” says Pita Paraone.

One of his issues is how money will be spent, but on top of that is another issue on how the Bill's proposed board Te Matāwai will sit.

Dr Ngata says, “Te Mātāwai is another issue, and if Te Mātāwai stays then we need to know exactly what Te Mātāwai is.”

Under the Bill, the new board is made up of tribal and Crown representatives, and also Māori language organisations who will take control of the Māori Language Commission, Māori Broadcast Funding Agency and Māori Television. 

Ms Hunia stated, “We don't agree with the Bill, there are so many flaws and we don't believe in giving control of the Māori language to Te Mātāwai.”

However Ūmere is against the entity's establishment.  Last year, they were against the Government's Māori language strategy and now they're against the Bill.

“It's a waste of money establishing this new board.  It's better if we spend money on what already exists and put money into the already Māori language organisations like Te Māngai Pāho,” says Hunia.

The Māori Affairs Select Committee has extended the public submission period for the Bill to December 5, and will report back to Parliament in March.