Māori live in diverse situations and locations, and communities
can be made up of iwi, hapū, whānau, Māori language clubs, interest
groups, urban collectives and others
YOU HAVE A MĀORI LANGUAGE PLAN?
When Māori were the majority population in Aotearoa, the health
of the language was secure. Māori was the language of the home,
whānau, community, business and all social interaction. Choosing to
speak Māori did not take conscious effort; it simply was the norm,
much as English is for many people today.
The damage to our language occurred very quickly over the course
of a couple of generations due to urbanisation, government policies
and immigration. For Māori speakers now, unless they are living in
one of the few remaining populated Māori speaking communities, it
takes commitment and conscious effort to speak Māori. We are
surrounded by English in our homes, schools, the workplace, and
while socialising and playing sports and recreation, and all the
other myriad activities in our everyday lives.
Over the past three decades, community based initiatives like
kōhanga reo, kura Māori, wānanga and Māori radio stations and
television have revived interest and support for the language. We
know that the majority of Māori value the Māori language and are
optimistic in their outlook for the future of the language. The
challenge before us now is ensuring that the growth and development
of our language is sustained.
To reverse some of the harm done to our language we must
consciously choose to do things that will support Māori language
retention and growth. We can choose to watch Māori television,
listen to Māori radio, and parents can choose to speak Māori in the
home and send their children to Māori medium education institutions.
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