Today Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi launch their five-year te reo Māori strategy.
The strategy has been developed over two years by local iwi, Māori experts and strategic partners of the tertiary institution.
Professor Te Kani Kingi, Executive Director of Research and Innovation at Awanuiārangi, says the strategy identifies greater learning opportunities; increased research; and encourages te reo Māori use in the wider community.
"Attached to each of these priorities is a range of initiatives to strengthen Māori language use and accelerate revitalisation both within the institution and in the wider community."
Kingi said they want to use the strategy to normalise te reo Māori.
“Key to this is creating an environment where te reo Māori is used naturally in everyday community life, such as at the supermarket or local sports clubs. We will extend the reach of te reo into our communities to create real language-use opportunities for learners, whether Māori or non-Māori.”
The reaction from the community to normalise the language has been positive.
“Part of the strategy will be to ensure that people who want to learn te reo Māori have the best opportunity to do so. If we do this well and we make inroads into developing a bilingual community, there will be multiple outcomes, opportunities, and benefits that go beyond the reo but that highlight the value of the language,” says Kingi.
Kingi believes a lot of people want to learn the language, however, cannot make a commitment to learning it due to their busy lifestyle.
“On this programme, the student commits the time, and we provide an opportunity that is as wrap-around as possible, allowing students to live, breathe, dream, sleep, eat and engage 24 hours a day in te reo Māori."