COMMENT:

For Māori to be enjoying success as Māori, te reo needs to be everywhere and all the time, not just this week.

While this Māori Language Week is quite rightly showcasing te reo Māori, there remains a substantial opportunity to increase its use by investing more into te reo Māori education.

Despite all the efforts that have gone into Māori language revitalisation, and many positive developments in recent years, te reo Māori is still classed as a "vulnerable" and endangered language by the United Nations.

Advertisement

The fragile state of indigenous languages around the world has prompted the UN to give the issue specific focus, declaring 2019 the international year of indigenous languages.

A draft Crown Māori language strategy includes three "audacious goals", including a goal for one million te reo Māori speakers in Aotearoa by the year 2040, and 150,000 Māori speaking te reo as a primary language by 2040.

Such bold goals are what's required to ensure te reo Māori survives and flourishes. They will require equally bold actions and real, sustained commitment – from Government and from every one of us.

The statistics on te reo Māori highlight the size of the task ahead. Less than 4 per cent of New Zealanders speak te reo. Only 23 per cent of children access te reo Māori at school. Currently one in five Māori speak te reo.

The Government has announced its objective to integrate te reo Māori education into everyday learning in all primary schools and early childhood education centres by 2025 and has increased funding for this purpose.

Next January, New Zealand's record on human rights will come under the spotlight of the UN Human Rights Council. The council will review a range of human rights issues in this country, including educational outcomes and support for indigenous languages, and will make recommendations to the Government.

Before this review, the Human Rights Commission and other representative groups will have highlighted local human rights issues to Wellington-based diplomats, to Geneva-based representatives to the United Nations and to the council itself through written submissions.

The Human Rights Commission firmly believes the right to Māori language and culturally appropriate education is a basic human right and needs to be supported by tangible action.

In our submission to the UN Human Rights Council we recommend that the Government provides adequate resources to enable training for teachers to teach te reo Māori in all state schools with a view to making it a compulsory curriculum subject in primary education.

As 92 per cent of Māori children are in mainstream schools, it is critically important that we have culturally and linguistically responsive teaching in all schools. However, there is a dire shortage of quality Māori language teachers. This highlights the need for incentives and investment in teacher training.

Te reo Māori is New Zealand's language. It's a fundamental human right and part of our national identity. He reo e kōrerotia ana, he reo e ora ana. A spoken language is a living language

Me aro kōhukihuki ki te reo Māori

Whakaahuareka te iwi Māori kia tū rangatira ai hei Māori, me kōrero te reo i ngā wāhi katoa, i ngā wā katoa, kaua ko tēnei wiki anake.

Ahakoa ka whakataunaki, whakatairanga tēnei wiki o te Reo Māori, arā atu anō ētahi mahi angitu hei whakatūturu i te reo mā te toha pūtea inā noa atu ki te ako i te reo.

Ahatia ngā mahi whakahaumanu i te reo, me ngā mahi whakapakari o te wā, e mea ana te Rūnanga Whakakotahi i ngā Iwi o te Ao, kei te noho whakaraerae tonu. He reo whakamōrearea ngā reo taketake o te ao, nā kia arotahi te mahi. Ko te tau 2019, te tau whakanui i ngā Reo Taketake o te Ao.

Ko te Maihi Karauna he rautaki hukihuki me ōna whainga e toru, kia Kotahi miriona ngā kaikōrero Māori, ā kia 150,000 tangata Māori ka kōrerohia i te reo tuatahi hei te tau 2040.

Na runga i ēnei whainga matua ka ora ai te reo. Me kaha ake kia ngākau titikaha te Kāwanatanga, tātou katoa. Nā runga i ngā tatauranga reo, he mahi nui ki mua i te aroaro.

Iti iho i te 4 ōrau ka kōrero i te reo. 23 ōrau noa iho ngā Tamariki e ako ana i te reo ki te kura. I tēnei wā tonu Kotahi o ia takirima tangata Māori ka kōrero i te reo.

Kua pānuitia e te Kāwanatanga i tōna whainga paetae ki te whakauruuru te ako i te reo Māori ki roto i ngā akoranga o ngā kura tuatahi me ngā Kura Kōhungahunga katoa, ā te tau 2025.

Ā tērā tau hei te marama o Kohitātea, ka whakamātauria a Aotearoa e te Kaunihera Tika Tangata mō ngā kaupapa tika tangata. Ka tirohia ki ngā kaupapa tika tangata kua matapakihia – tae rā anō ki ngā putanga mātauranga me te taituarā i ngā reo taketake – kātahi ka tuku kupu tohutohu ki te Kāwanatanga o Aotearoa.

Ki mua tonu i tēnei arotakenga, ka tuku whakamāramatanga e te Kāhui Tika Tangata me ētahi atu roopu whaipānga i ngā take ki mua i te aroaro o ngā takawaenga kāwanatanga, ki ngā kaimahi tika tangata kei Tiniwa, ā hoki ki te Kaunihera Tika Tangata.

E whakapono ana te Kāhui Tika Tangata he tika waiwai te tika ki te Reo Māori me te whai mātauranga e hāngai ana ki te ahurea o te tangata.

I roto i ō mātou kōrero whakamārama ki te Kaunihera Tika Tangata ka tohutohu me hoatu te Kāwanatanga ngā rauemi kia āhei atu te whakaako i ngā tauira hei kaiako i te reo mō ngā kura auraki, ā tōnā wā ka whakamanahia te reo he akoranga matua ki roto i te Marautanga o Aotearoa.

92 ōrau Tamariki Māori e haere ana ki ngā kura auraki, e tika ana kia matua mohio, kia mārama pai ngā kaiako ki te ahurea me ngā reo o ā rātou tauira. Engari, torutoru noa iho ngā kaiako reo. Kia kaha ake te whakapoapoa kia aroha mai ki tēnei kaupapa nui.

Ko Te Reo Māori, te reo o Aotearoa. He tika waiwai, he tuakiri ā-motu.

He reo e kōrerotia ana, he reo e ora ana.

• Paula Tesoriero, MNZM, is the Acting Chief Commissioner, Human Rights Commission. The translation by Hemi Pirihi, Kaiwhakarite, Te Kāhui Tika Tangata, was supplied by the Human Rights Commission.