The private sector can be defined as that part of the economy that is under
private ownership and control, as opposed to the government. The private sector
includes all privately owned corporations, small businesses, professional
firms, and non-commercial organisations such as unions and non-profit agencies
WHY SHOULD YOU HAVE A MĀORI LANGUAGE PLAN?
Māori and English are official languages of New Zealand so New Zealand is in a sense officially bilingual. In theory, official bilingualism gives priority to English and Māori, and ensures that questions relating to services in these two languages are systematically addressed.
(Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori, Blueprint for a Languages Policy: New Zealand Public Service, May 1994, p5)
Being an official language means that Māori language can be spoken in Court and other official places like Parliament. It also means that those who want to converse with the Public Service in Māori should be able to do so.
Parts of New Zealand English are rooted in Māori lexicon and it is not
uncommon to hear the Māori language used or referenced in speech.
This development is reflected in the recently published Oxford Māori Words in New Zealand English.
Māori Language in the Private Sector
Organisations are used to planning to meet their goals and objectives, as
this helps ensure that their business operates smoothly. Māori language
planning can be treated as any other planning exercise to contribute to
“better business” practice. Devoting time and effort to Māori
language planning as well as strategic planning, financial planning, and
administrative planning will assist you to increase internal capacity and to
improve relationships with your clients.
If the Māori speaking population continues to increase, as it is
projected to do so, then it is logical to assume that the demand for
Māori language services will also increase. Planning now will ensure that your organisation has the
capacity to meet the potential demand for bilingual services in the
future.Being prepared now will put you ahead of others and could give you an edge
in your business.
Māori is an official language of New Zealand, and while it is up
to private businesses to choose what languages they use in the
course of their own business, there are many examples where
incorporating the Māori language has provided commercial benefit to
private organisations. For example, Progressive Enterprises
Ltd’s Celebrate New Zealand campaign which earlier this year gave
supermarket shoppers a free Māori phrase book. The Māori
language booklet provided an effective advertising strategy to
invoke national pride and encouraged consumers to buy ‘local
products’. It also encouraged familiarity with Māori
language and reinforcing New Zealand’s diverse heritage.
(visit Progressive Enterprizes Limited website: www.3guys.co.nz
The provision of basic
bilingual signage in shops is an effective way of supporting the Māori
language, particularly in regions with significant Māori populations (for example, Bay of Plenty, East Coast, Northland.
In 2004, a privately owned food market in Tokomaru Bay on the
East Coast was profiled by several news media because of the
bilingual signage in the shop. Not only did the signs acknowledge the needs of his major
client group, but also provided an example to the rest of the
country and overseas of the special identity New Zealand has.
Māori language and culture give a point of difference that is
unique to New Zealand and this can be utilised by the private sector
to provide a commercial advantage, as well as supporting Māori
What is a Bilingual Organisation?
A bilingual organisation is one that has the capacity to operate in two languages, not one in which all employees have to be bilingual.
Official bilingualism gives priority to English and Māori, and ensures that questions relating to services in these two languages are systematically addressed.
Vision and Goals
The process of becoming a bilingual organisation can be relatively straight forward if you have a vision, and set realistic and achievable goals. Your vision can be as wide-ranging and long term as you like. The goals you choose will support the achievement of your vision and should be broken up into short, medium and long-term goals.
For example, an organisation that provides information services might choose the following as their vision and goals:
Publishing House produces high quality English and Māori
Implement Māori language policies to ensure that all
bilingual text is quality assured.
Implement a recruitment policy to attract two new bilingual
Increase internal capacity so that all aspects of publishing Māori
language text can be undertaken in-house.
The Māori speaking population, ranging from those who are highly
fluent to those who are beginning to learn the language, is
increasing. Added to this is the large section of the total
New Zealand population that have positive attitudes towards Māori
language whether they speak it or not. Engendering goodwill by
recognising and using Māori language in your business and marketing
strategies can benefit both businesses and consumers.
For example, the appropriate use of Māori words can form part of
an effective communications strategy. A company that has a
policy to answer its phones with the greeting “kia ora” or
“kia ora – good morning” creates goodwill that can be
translated into better customer relationships. Likewise, a
television advertisement that includes correctly pronounced Māori
words can have a similar beneficial effect.
Alternatively, the inappropriate use or pronunciation of Māori
words can have an undesirable result. The policies and style
guides that make up part of a Māori language plan can ensure that
your business is using Māori language consistently and correctly.
Creating a National Identity
Māori language and culture are a significant and essential part of our national identity. Māori
language can be a taonga, a source of pride and a means of significant
communication for all New Zealanders.
Internationally, New Zealand
is automatically associated with things Māori. Māori
language will always be central to Māori culture, but it also
contributes significantly to New Zealand’s unique identity in the
world. For example the haka, the national anthem and the song
Pōkarekare ana are heard throughout the world wherever there are
New Zealanders.Māori language is becoming more and more a part of New Zealand’s national and international
identity. One of the signs of this acceptance is when huge
mulitnational companies such as Microsoft begin to
produce Māori versions of common software.
Contribution to Māori Language Regeneration
The Government has a Māori Language Strategy that actively
encourages Māori language use in the public arena and as an
ordinary means of daily communication. By incorporating basic
Māori language salutation in written or oral business transactions,
private businesses will be supporting the Strategy’s long-term
outcome to regenerate the Māori language.
Examples of what private sector businesses and companies can do
to support Māori language regeneration include:
- promoting its general use in the work place through language
policies and plans which promote the use of Māori;
- increasing the number of businesses and companies who can
respond to customers who wish to converse in Māori; and
- increasing visibility and status of the language.
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