The public sector comprises the units of local, regional and central government authorities. Generally, this includes the Public (or Civil) Service and agencies outside it but not in the private sector.
(source: State Services Commission)
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.
Te Tiriti o Waitangi
Organisations that choose to have Māori language plans contribute to upholding the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi - by advancing the Government's Treaty of Waitangi obligation to protect and promote reo Māori.
Government's Māori Language Strategy
The Government is committed to supporting the regeneration of reo Māori and has developed a Māori Language Strategy which aims to coordinate efforts across the public sector. Cabinet has directed agencies, particularly those that have a specific role in the use and development of the Māori language (for example the Ministry of Education), to develop Māori language plans.
Māori language planning outcomes directly support two of the Government's Māori Language Strategy goals:
Māori Language Strategy Goal Two
By 2028 Māori language use will be increased at marae, within Māori households, and other targeted domains. In these domains the Māori language will be in common use.
Māori language planning will support the increased use of the Māori language by creating opportunities to use Māori language in a specific domain.
Māori Language Strategy Goal Five
By 2028 the Māori language will be valued by all New Zealanders and there will be a common awareness of the need to protect the language.
Demonstrating the use of the Māori language (oral and written) in a high profile domain will enhance the value of Māori language within New Zealand society.
To download a copy of the Government's Māori Language Strategy go to: http://www.tpk.govt.nz/maori/language/default.asp
There is widespread agreement amongst Māori that the government has an important role to play in the revitalisation of the Māori language, particularly in encouraging the use of reo Māori in specific language domains including government departments and the work place.
(Te Puni Kōkiri, Survey of Attitudes, Values and Beliefs about the Māori Language, 2002, pp 13-14.)
It is important for New Zealanders to be able to access public services through the Māori language, and Cabinet has confirmed that it is a government function to support the regeneration of Māori language.
Contribution to Māori Language Regeneration
Public Service Departments, State Sector agencies and Local Government can play a critical role in regenerating reo Māori by:
- promoting its general use in the work place through language policies and plans;
- increasing the number of departments, agencies and authorities who can respond to customers who wish to converse in Māori; and
- promoting collaboration between agencies in the wider Māori language and culture sector.
Public Service Departments and State Sector agencies can also maintain the relatively high-profile our language enjoys overseas. They can stay current with trends in indigenous peoples' language rights, and even become leaders in the recognition and use of indigenous languages in the workplace.
Organisations are used to planning to meet their goals and objectives and to ensure that they operate 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 is the current trend, then it is logical to assume that the demand for Māori language services will also increase. Organisations can optimise their efficiency by planning now to ensure that they have the capacity to provide their services to Māori language speakers as well as to English speakers, and become, in effect, bilingual organisations.
Some organisations may even choose to extend their language plans to include the provision of services for all the major language groups they regularly deal with.
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:
Organisation provides information that is accessible to all English and Māori speaking clients.
Implement Māori language quality assurance, publications, website and communications policies to ensure that selected information is available bilingually in Māori and English.
Test and survey effectiveness of information dissemination in different bilingual mediums.
Use proven methods of effective bilingual communication to disseminate all key information in English and Māori.