An urban Māori leader is the first to be appointed to Te Mātāwai, the new legislative body that will be responsible for the revitalisation of te reo Māori on behalf of iwi and Māori.
Willie Jackson the Urban Māori Member for Te Mātāwai admits his reo isn't the best, but he says his latest appointment isn't about that.
"Don't judge me, I am not the most fluent speaker but what's the important thing for this role. It is to support and advocate for our people, as well as challenge the Government.”
Mr Jackson was appointed to Te Mātāwai by the National Urban Māori Authority. With the Māori Language Act 2016 now in force, a spokesperson for Te Puni Kokiri confirmed that the interview process to appoint the remaining 12 members is also under way.
Te Ururoa Flavell, Minister of Māori Development says, “Let me speak for my people of Te Arawa. We have just finished establishing a group who will then select a representative on our behalf. Then we hope to construct a strategy and perhaps in time, Te Mātāwai might be able to provide funding for that."
Seven representatives are set to be chosen by iwi, another three from the 'Reo Tukutuku' cluster which represent Māori Language Stakeholders in media, education and community will join Mr Jackson. Furthermore, the Minister of Māori Development Te Ururoa Flavell will appoint two Crown representatives.
Mr Jackson says, “My first task is to meet with our urban people to see what their goals and aspirations are for Te Reo.”
Selection of all the representatives is scheduled before the end of July. The Minister of Māori Development Te Ururoa Flavell says that their first task is to define the board's functions and to also appoint a manager.