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July 27, 2009 | by  | in News | [ssba]

Māori Language Week 2009: Māori Language in the Community

The theme for Māori Language Week 2009 is ‘Te Reo i te Hapori – Māori Language in the Community’.

In 2008 Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori released Te Mahere Rautaki a Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori that highlights its strategic direction for the next 20 years. The major shift of this direction is that it largely focuses on ensuring the use of te reo Māori in the home, by the whole family. It also supposes that the critical support for this to happen sits within communities and that Māori language community development underpins the ability for us as a nation to achieve the objective of te reo Māori being used in the home, every day, by and between all members of the family.

Intergenerational transmission, the use of a language from one generation to the next, has long been recognised as the fundamental basis of a living language. The role of Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori is to promote te reo Māori and to ensure its long-term survival as a living language. It is this role that has brought about the development of Te Mahere Rautaki a Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori and its single-minded focus on the role family and community plays in effective Māori language regeneration.

It is for these reasons Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori designated Māori Language Week 2009 with the theme, Māori Language in the Community.

Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori values the role that community based initiatives have made to revitalising the language. To that end Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori has supported community generated initiatives around the language for the last eight years through its administration of the Mā Te Reo fund.

Other initiatives like Te Ataarangi and Māori language broadcasting through Māori Television and iwi radio are also critical in supporting whānau to become regular speakers of te reo Māori in the home.

“The language is accessible, there are many programmes and classes available for those with a commitment to learning the language. Te Ātaarangi has been around for 20 years, and you can even learn for free by watching Tōku Reo on Māori Television and downloading the tutorial lessons after the programmes screening online”, says Chief Executive, Huhana Rokx.

“Promoting language in the community is a priority for Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori, as such we are in constant dialogue with iwi across the country to ascertain what the priorities might be for encouraging and developing regional dialects and the resurgence of iwi specific histories, culture and protocols through the language. It is through these efforts that the language will endure”, says Huhana Rokx.

“Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori is clear however that the language is still in a perilous state. Concerted efforts to revitalise the language have only been in train for the last thirty years, whereas the subjugation of the language and Māori culture occurred over generations. The language can only survive through its normalisation into wider New Zealand culture and society. Every little bit helps”, says Huhana Rokx.


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