NZ Rugby to invest in te reo Māori

By Raniera Harrison
  • Wellington

The NZ Rugby have today confirmed they are in the process of creating initiatives to further promote te reo Māori in the sport. This comes after senior players raised concerns about the lack of te reo Māori promotion within the professional rugby environment.

It's an issue affecting a large number of Māori rugby players. And NZ Rugby is finally walking-the-talk on encouraging players to speak Māori.

New Zealand Rugby Union Kaumātua, Luke Crawford says, “Regardless of whether or not they are Māori, what's preferable is if they are adept at speaking Māori.”

NZ Rugby has just signalled an elevated interest to begin processes of supporting the inclusively of te reo Māori in the game. With more Māori initiatives likely to be given the green-light from the union.

Crawford says, “NZ Rugby is looking for alternative pathways to implement Māori strategies from within Māori culture.”

NZ Rugby says Māori language participation in the sport is steady with an expectation that through adding Māori initiatives to its national programmes, the Māori language will be spoken more often.

“Within the Māori All Blacks side, the majority of the players have a limited grasp of the Māori vernacular, however, there are some who are currently learning.”

NZ Rugby will invest $200,000 a year for the next five years into Māori development. In the hope that it will contribute to Māori speaking All Blacks in time.

“Joe Moody is another. I was surprised to hear him leading the grace within the team and to begin the day. Those kinds of things.”

It's a mammoth undertaking by the union, with one thing left to do.

“The onus is upon the union to support the players as they aspire to attain the language. That is a credible idea.”

So that the calibre of the language will be just as good as player performance on the field.

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