Māori language Commission ‘side-lined’ in translating Māori language bill

By Heta Gardiner

Cabinet has agreed to a landmark decision to enact the Māori language bill in dual languages, meaning Te Reo Māori will prevail in law.

The Māori language bill has finally been approved after sitting with cabinet for two months.  

Translating the Māori text into law delayed the decision, but now the approval will see it move on to select committee. 

New Zealand First MP and Māori Language Commissions former Chief Executive, Pita Paraone has questioned why the Māori Language Commission were not involved in the translator selection process. "I ask, where is the Māori Language Commission in all of this? I think they should be making the final decision on who is appropriate to do the translations."

Te Puni Kōkiri were charged with the responsibility of finding a translator, not the Māori Language Commission. The former Chief Executive of the Commission is unclear why. "I was surprised by that!"

But the minister Te Ururoa Flavell is putting Pita Paraone and his comments to the side, saying it is irrelevant. "It's not new, it's like that now. If I have something that needs to be translated in an official capacity, I reach out to Te Puni Kōkiri, and most of the time, they consult with Te Taura Whiri anyway.”

The bill is on track to pass by the end of the year.