Sharples to review te reo spend

By Yvonne Tahana

Pita Sharples is setting up a group to assess whether the Government's investment its achieving its aims. Photo / Steven McNicholl
Pita Sharples is setting up a group to assess whether the Government's investment its achieving its aims. Photo / Steven McNicholl

Moves are under way to give Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples closer scrutiny of the estimated $250 million government spend on te reo initiatives.

The development comes as Maori Language Week kicks off and new research from the Maori Language Commission shows the disconnect between those claiming to understand te reo conversations and the numbers of those who actually use it.

Sources said Dr Sharples would set up a group to assess whether the Government was getting value for money.

It is understood the group is likely to review spending across sectors including education, broadcasting funder Te Mangai Paho, the commission and the Ministry of Maori Development, Te Puni Kokiri.

Commission chairman Erima Henare has advocated more efficient spending on initiatives that see people actually use the language.

Mr Henare said it was skewed to tertiary courses for beginners, but those speakers weren't necessarily using it outside the classroom.

The situation raised questions about the efficacy of the Government's estimated $250 million spend, Mr Henare said. He liked the idea of Dr Sharples being ultimately responsible.

"I think the Minister of Maori Affairs is the right individual to co-ordinate when and how that money is used and ultimately that might be within his budgetary control."

The commission's latest research showed 54 per cent of Maori could follow a te reo conversation, yet only 7 per cent were completely confident using the language in any situation.

"There is a disconnect in the human make-up between the brain and the mouth because I know lots of people like that," Mr Henare said.

There was also an element of "overinflation" of ability as respondents in the research had to self-report their comprehension levels.

With numbers of fluent speakers dropping from 70,000 in the 1970s to just 18,000, revitalisation was still finely balanced, he said.

However, Massey University academic Dr Rangi Mataamua described the situation as alarming and said radical re-directing of funding to programmes that emphasised use was needed immediately.

"I think the situation is desperate and I think Maori can't use the excuse any more that, 'Oh, I can't speak it because my koro was smacked'.

"We're all responsible for our language. If you can't speak it, learn it. If you can't be bothered about it, then don't pretend you're enthusiastic about it. What makes us Maori isn't the colour of our skin or the tattoo on your arm, it's the language - and the ability to express our thoughts and hopes and desires in our own language."

TE REO VERSION

Kei te wanangatia etahi huarahi hou kia kaha ake ai te tatari a te Minita mo nga Take Maori, a Takuta Pita Sharples, i nga hua ka puta i nga putea, e matapaetia nei he $250 miriona te uara ia tau, mo nga kokiri reo Maori.

Kei te panuitia enei whainga hou o te Kawanatanga i te timatanga o te wiki o te reo Maori. I tenei tau hoki kua puta mai etahi rangahau mai i te Taura Whiri i Te Reo, e whakaari nei i te rereketanga o te tokomaha e ki ana kei te mohio ki te whakarongo ki te reo, i te tokomaha o te hunga e kaha nei ki te whakamahi i te reo.

E ai ki etahi mangai whaki korero mai ka whakaturia e Te Minita mo nga Take Maori he ropu mana e tirotiro me he hua e puta ana i aua whakapaunga.

Ki ta nga korero kua tae mai ki te Herora ka arotakea pea e te ropu a whakapaunga i nga rangai penei i te matauranga, i te putea papaho e mohiotia nei ko te Mangai Paho, i Te Taura Whiri i Te Reo, me te Puni Kokiri.

Kua puta nga korero a Te Toihau o Te Taura Whiri a Erima Henare e aki nei kia kaha ake nga whakapaunga mo nga kokiri e whakamahi ai te tangata i te reo.

I tenei wa, e ai ki a Erima, ka whakahangaitia nga putea ki nga kaupapa ako i nga whare wananga, whare takiura, engari ki a ia, kaore aua kaikorero i te tino whakamahi i te reo i waho i te ruma ako.

Na konei ka ara ake nga patai o te wa mo nga hua e puta ana i nga whakapaunga e matapaetia nei he $250 miriona, e ai ki a Erima Henare.

He pai ki a ia kia noho ano te kawenga ki a Takuta Pita Sharples, mana e arotake.

"Ki a au nei hoki ka tika ra ko Te Minita mo nga Take Maori hei tangata kawe i te ihu o te waka, ara, kia riro mana e whakahangai nga whakapaunga, me te hotaka whakapaunga o nga moni, otira kia noho i raro i tona mana whakahaere."

E ai ki nga rangahau o te Taura Whiri o enei tau tata, 54 orau o te iwi Maori ka ahei te whai, kia marama ki tetahi korerorero reo Maori, otiia e 7 orau noa iho ka tino matatau ki te korero Maori, ahakoa he aha te kaupapa.

"E tauwehe ana te noho a te roro me te mangai o te tangata, na te mea he tini nga tangata e mohio ana au he pera o ratou ahua," e ai ki a Erima.

Ko etahi i huri ki te "whakatamarahi" mo to ratou kaha ki te korero Maori, na te mea, i riro na nga kaiwhakautu i nga uiuinga rangahau i tohu he pehea rawa to ratou marama ki te reo.

Kaore ano kia tino hoki mai te reo Maori i te mate, i muri i te hekenga o te tokomaha o nga kaikorero i te 70,000 i nga tau 1970 ki te 18,000, e ai ki a Erima.

Heoi ano, na te kaiako o Te Kunenga ki Purehuroa na Takuta Rangi Mataamua i ki, me ohorere ka tika te tangata i enei ahuatanga, a, me tino whakatikatika te whakahangai i nga putea ki nga hotaka e whakamahia ai te reo i te tuatahi, inaia tonu nei.

"Kei te tino morearea te ahua o te reo ki ahau, a, ki a ahau me mutu inaianei te karo a te Maori i ki ra tatou 'ko au tetahi kaore e mohio ki te korero Maori na te mea i patua taku koro i te kura'.

"Te tikanga kei tena kei tena o tatou te kawenga mo te reo, ki te kore koe e korero Maori, akona. Mehemea kaore koe e aronui mai, kaua e rupahu ki te tangata he kaitautoko koe i te reo.

"Ko te ahua o te Maori ehara i te tae o te kiri, i te moko ranei kei te kiri o te ringaringa.

Ko te reo te tino ahua Maori o te tangata - ko to tatou reo ake hei rerenga korero kawe i nga whakaaro, i nga tumanako, i nga moemoea ki te ao."

- NZ Herald

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