Mataatua iwi discuss Māori Language Bill

By Mere McLean
  • Waikato/Bay of Plenty

Te Mātāwai should have no control over Te Māngai Pāho and Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori.

This was one of the key opinions expressed by veteran sportscaster Hemana Waaka today at Te Puni Kōkiri's regional consultation on the Māori Language Bill at the offices of Te Uru Taumatua in Tāneatua. 

Iwi in Mataatua now have a clearer picture on the Māori Language Bill and the establishment of Te Mātāwai board.  

Professor Rawinia Higgins believes people at the hui were able to establish that Māori have a role, the Crown also has a role but the key issue is to work together. 

Professor Higgins sat on the Māori language advisory group who established a framework for the Māori Language Bill. 

Discussions centred on the establishment of a board known as Te Mātāwai. However, concerns arose regarding current Crown entities.   

Hemana Waaka says, “Personally, Te Māngai Pāho should be separate Te Taura Whiri should also remain separate because they know what they are doing and what they are about. “

Under the new Māori Language Bill, Crown entities will remain autonomous.  With the establishment of Te Mātāwai, Iwi will also play a role in the protection of the Māori language along with the Crown. 

Professor Rawinia Higgins says Te Mātāwai has a hosting role, The Crown sits as the visiting party within the house and from this they sit as one to discuss pathways for the survival of the language.

Should the Māori Language Bill pass into law the first meeting for Te Mātāwai is set for the end of this September.

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