Topics: Politics, Te Reo Māori

Te Reo Māori for Māori electorates

By Kawekōrero, Kayne Ngātokowhā Peters
  • Waikato/Bay of Plenty

The Waiariki candidates go head to head over the importance of fluent Māori speakers in Māori seats

Māori Party leader Te Ururoa Flavell and Labour Party candidate Tamati Coffey spoke to Kawekōrero Reporters.

When asked if te reo Māori should be compulsory for candidates contesting a Māori seat, both Waiariki candidates had slightly differing opinions.

Te Ururoa Flavell says, “An ability to have Māori as a language that you speak in Māori electorates is pretty important because most of the discussion can happen on marae, kapa haka, where our people express themselves in one form or another.”

However he does say, “Is it a necessity, not necessarily but of course it does help to be aware of all the issues that come up.”

Tamati Coffey says, “I agree with the Minister, let’s look at the statistics though. One in five of our people actually speak te reo Māori. Four in five don’t. So by putting in a policy like that, you’re shutting out a few people.”

Coffey says, “It’s also a dangerous slippery slope that you go down with that kind of whakaaro too because then you start talking about who’s more Māori than others.”

Currently there are seven members of Parliament who are fluent in Te Reo Māori.