It's timely to discuss some of the challenges we face in promoting te reo Maori, because despite the huge success that is Maori Language Week each year, complacent attitudes affecting the use of te reo Maori still persist.

More recently, Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Maori has prioritised its responsibility for language revitalisation in terms of national leadership and an improved co-ordinator's role.

And while the organisation provides expertise to support the use and development of the language, it recognises that the bulk of operational capacity sits with various agencies, iwi and other Maori language speaking communities.

Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Maori is not resourced to carry out the operational functions that occur regionally and locally throughout the country.

And neither should it. On a practical level, language revitalisation happens in homes, marae and wider communities around the country and could never emanate from an office in downtown Wellington!

What Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Maori does for language revitalisation is provide national leadership, co-ordinate efforts and cross-promote success.

In the battle for language survival, Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Maori acts as a neutral force occupying what can only be defined as rather tenuous strategic territory between the two competing, and oft-time opposing, protagonists of iwi on one side and government on the other.

In a sense, the organisation is a bridging mechanism between the two, substantively beholden to one through legislation and funding but more powerfully motivated by and obligated to the other.

Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Maori determines and promotes messages as per the organisation's strategic priorities, the most important of which are Te Reo i te Kainga - Maori Language in the Home and Te Reo i te Hapori - Maori Language in the Community.

More recently we have been focusing on language use and language acquisition.

The most recent example of this would be Te Mahi Kai - The Language of Food, our activity-based theme for Maori Language Week this year.

The Maori language revitalisation sector, along with Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Maori, should be concerned with increasing the critical mass of speakers using te reo, with a focus on ensuring a high quality of language is maintained.

There are, however, barriers preventing people engaging and supporting the language in a sustained manner.

So far the research suggests that these barriers relate mainly to people's attitudes and behaviours towards the language.

As antiquated as it is, the view that there is no worth in learning a dying language is still a prevailing thought in our country.

A further issue facing the language is a practical one. Learning Maori is hard and requires sustained commitment over a number of years, particularly for the majority of learners who are acquiring it as a second language. This is our biggest problem, convincing people that the language learning journey is a worthwhile one.

Compelling people to believe in the value of the language, what it gives you (not what you get from it) and why it's so important to learn and know te reo Maori - more especially if you are Maori!

What can be said is that learning Maori will not change a person's predicament per se, but will inevitably affect the way a person views that predicament. It will offer up the mental wherewithal to convert profound change of the mind into an actual, physical, palpable change in circumstance.

And therein lies the language's most powerful wisdom and truth - the promise of change and enhanced understanding.

And for Maori, of course, that change is no more so critical especially given the language's relationship to their sense of identity as Maori and as New Zealanders.