Politicians are well known for laying claims to stuff they hadn't thought about but was a good idea introduced by another Government.

They're not unlike the Aussies who are forever claiming the origins of anything good that comes out of this country, like Pavlova and even lamingtons - they can have Russell Crowe.

The Dipton Drawler Bill English was yesterday sounding a bit like one of his predecessors, Jenny Shipley, who once claimed that the origins of the Trans Pacific Partnership came from her along with the Free Trade Agreement with China - that gift given to John Key on taking office that just kept giving.

English laid claim to introducing the Maori television service, which actually came into being four years before National took office, and he also inferred in the same breath ownership of the iwi radio stations which go back to 1990.


But then again he was probably wanting to lessen the blow he could well receive today when he, along with the political tribe, make their annual pilgrimage to Ratana, near Whanganui.

He's probably still reeling from the reaction he got to saying the Maori language isn't ours, it's theirs, when in fact it's one of our two official languages, declared by the Lange Government in 1987.

It's somewhat ironic then for him to claim it's not the Government's job to keep the language alive, when he lays claim to Maori broadcasting and to a strategy of keeping te reo alive.

English who himself speaks some te reo, will be feeling a little insecure at Ratana today, given for the first time in almost a decade, National doesn't have a formal Maori voice, following the obliteration of its old coalition cobber the Maori Party at the last election.

Jacinda Ardern, on the other hand, will have a spring in her step, with all the Maori seats now finally being back in the Labour fold.

She'll do what she does best - smile - as the Maori-language speeches go over her head.

And surely that's the point.

For those of us who like to attend events like Waitangi Day, listen to and revel in colourful Maori welcomes, and to a lesser extent celebrate the Ratana Church's founder and prophet, shouldn't we at least have some understanding of what's being said?


It's part of who we are as a nation and it's most certainly not, as English would have it, someone else's language. Which he's likely to discover today.