Topic: Te Reo Māori

Labour questions, what’s the hold-up with Te Mātāwai?

updated By Heta Gardiner

Tāmaki Makaurau MP Peeni Henare thinks it's about time we get some results and have something concrete on the Māori Language Bill, Te Mātāwai.

The bill has been delayed as Minister of Māori Development put together a new advisory group to further scrutinise the Bill.  But the call has come, where are the benefits?

Henare feels, there are shades of good intentions, but the delay is starting to hurt.

Henare is talking about the Māori Language bill Te Mātāwai.  Pita Sharples introduced the bill to the house last year, but when Te Ururoa Flavell took over, he put in an advisory group to take a closer look at its merits.

Henare says, “Mate, this bill has been in limbo in the house for more than a year.”

Despite the delay, the minister thinks there is no use in rushing the process.

Flavell says, “Let’s remember, I am putting a bill together, not for this year, not for the next couple of years, but for many years to come.”

Another initiative the Labour Party is looking at is investing more reo Māori funds into schools.

Henare says, “It needs to be entrenched in schools.”

He also has a challenge for the Minister of Education, Hekia Parata.

Flavell says, “What is the minister scared of? It's not like we're saying, let’s make Māori compulsory in all schools tomorrow. We're simply saying, start putting things in place, to train teachers to train schools, so that this can be a reality in the future.”

Despite all the encouragement and strategies they would like implemented, the call is to not let the language fall exclusively under the whim of government funding. 

Henare says, “I encourage iwi, to keep fighting for the language. Not to put all our eggs in the Māori language strategies basket.”

One week of exposure for the language, but the question remains, what about the rest of the year?

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