What is language planning?

Language planning is a well-developed and evidence-based approach that is particularly useful in the revitalisation of indigenous and endangered languages, such as the Māori language.  

What does a language plan look like?

A plan is a document that takes into account conventional planning principles as well as your own organisation's context.  Your organisation may be able to do a little or a lot.  The main thing is to start and continue looking at how effective you have been and if there is more you can do. 

A plan provides a Te Reo Māori focus and means of keeping everyone on track towards achieving their language goals.  It can be as simple or as comprehensive as you want.  There is no one size fits all as can be seen from the various plans that have already been developed in the public and private sectors. Your plan should take account of:

  • Alignment with strategic priorities 
    Example indicator: ‘Evidence of clear alignment between language plan and business plan’
  • Resourcing
    Example indicator: ‘designated resource/personnel to lead language planning and implementation’
  • Policies 
    Example indicator: ‘Organisational policies integrate the priorities and values of the language plan’
  • Practice and operations 
    Example indicator: ‘Demonstrated use of te reo Māori in operational programmes and practices’
  • Outcome indicators: 'Number of te reo Māori speakers, installation of Māori signage'

Do I have to have a language plan?

All public service departments have been directed by Cabinet to complete language plans by the end of June 2021 (MCR-18-MIN-0012).  

Language plans are being developed by many other state sector organisations, businesses and community organisations. Language plans are the most effective way of enhancing their effectiveness through the Māori language and contributing to revitalisation.

Why do we need a language plan?

A Māori language plan can help ensure that efforts to revitalise Māori language are carefully directed to be as effective as possible. Through developing and implementing a language plan, your organisation will:             

  • contribute to the revitalisation of the Māori language;
  • enhance your organisation's relationships with Māori customers, clients and stakeholders;
  • strengthen your identity as a New Zealand organisation, committed to this country;
  • increase your organisational health by growing a confident and capable workforce;
  • meet other organisational goals that are enhanced by the use of the Māori language such as Crown-Iwi relations, diversity and inclusion and cultural responsiveness

What is the language planning process? How long does it take?

Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori recommends the following Language Planning Process:

  • Self-Assessment (4-6weeks),
  • Plan Development (6-8weeks),
  • Plan Implementation (9-12months),
  • Review and Refresh (6-8weeks)."

Please refer to the Language Planning Process Chart.

Where/How do we start a language plan?

Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori recommends that a language plan is based on the organisational needs and requirements. Your organisation could develop a 6 month plan that captures and/or increases your organisation's current activities but also formalises the intent to develop a longer term plan within this time period. Or the organisation could develop a 3 or 5 year plan with approved long term goals and the action steps required to achieve these goals. A language plan is a living document. Frequent reporting and an annual review of the plan is suggested. A plan may change after the first year based on the review.

Can you explain the 5 Language Planning elements?

Language planning promotes five equally important elements. These elements are key areas for the revitalisation of te reo Māori;

  • Status - people value te reo Māori;
  • Critical awareness - people know te reo Māori is endangered and their role in revitalisation;
  • Aquisition - people are learning te reo Māori;
  • Use - people read, write, speak and comprehend te reo Māori in many places and circumstances (domains);
  • Corpus - the right words and terms are available for all circumstances

What can you do for us?

Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori can help your organisation by:

  • providing regular advice and planning support at the strategic level to support you;
  • collaborating on policy outcomes and aspirations for te reo Māori where possible;
  • providing technical expertise on a case by case basis;
  • providing language planning resources and support to assist you to design, implement, monitor and evaluate your Māori language plan;
  • working with you to ensure that the actions set out within the language plan are sustainable for ongoing implementation, evaluation and review; and
  • celebrating and promoting your achievements.

Does it cost?

Organisations should work within current baselines to support revitalisation of te reo Māori. There are actions that organisations can take that have minimal financial impact such as:

  • replacing signage with bilingual signage during normal maintenance;
  • developing the policy framework to support revitalisation effort in the future e.g. email greetings and sign-offs;
  • using some of the resources on this website e.g. Job Title word lists.

What's in it for you?

A Māori language plan can help ensure that efforts to revitalise Māori language are carefully directed to be as effective as possible. Through developing and implementing a language plan, your organisation will:             

  • contribute to the revitalisation of the Māori language;
  • enhance your organisation's relationships with Māori customers, clients and stakeholders;
  • strengthen your identity as a New Zealand organisation, committed to this country;
  • increase your organisational health by growing a confident and capable workforce;
  • meet other organisational goals that are enhanced by the use of the Māori language such as Māori-Crown relations, diversity inclusion and cultural responsiveness.

What's in it for Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori?

The Maihi Karauna (the Crown’s Māori Language Strategy) states that the role of Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori is to coordinate and monitor the implementation of the Maihi Karauna and support Māori language planning. We will achieve this by:

  • Sharing real-time information on the nature and range of public service contributions to the revitalisation of te reo Māori
  • Creating a central online ‘hub’ for agencies to access tools, resources, share examples/insights/learnings, seek advice on emerging issues and opportunities or reference to appropriate expertise, and encourage others;
  • Anticipating resource, tool and advice needs, and actively responding to emerging needs;
  • Lifting language capability to ensure that the provision of public services is safe, appropriate and respectful; and
  • Enabling (rather than compelling) agencies to make meaningful contributions to the revitalisation of te reo Māori – focusing on opportunity rather than obligation.

How do we measure improvement?

Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori can provide the E Tipu questionnaire to help with measuring improvement. This questionnaire helps organisations understand where they are in supporting revitalisation and what steps you need to take next.

Who else is doing this?

Te Taura Whiri i te reo Māori encourages all organisations participating in language revitalisation to share their learnings and tools through this site. Te Taura Whiri i te reo Māori has also established an informal group named “Kapa Kawhe” (The Coffee Club) where organisations with experience discuss what they are doing in the Language Planning space. If you want to come along to our next get together drop us an email. We are also working with 6 key agencies to become exemplars. We will keep you posted on their progress.

What HR induction resources are available?

Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori recommends using the organisational capability maturity framework-E Tipu found in our tools section. We also have a questionnaire to help you assess where you are in that framework

What is the difference between a language plan and a language strategy?

A strategy focuses on the big picture, a plan zooms in on what your organisation is going to do and what steps your organisation is going to take to achieve your organisations goals.  If you are a Public Sector Department, your strategy is The Crown's Māori Language Strategy, The Maihi Karauna.

What are examples of Māori language activities?

Encouraging staff and the public to make a conscious effort to:

  • Using Māori greetings such as kia ora, tēnā koe, tēnā kōrua, tēnā koutou, haere rā, e noho rā, through your organisation;
  • Using Māori greetings in all email correspondence;
  • Setting a regular time for Māori conversations in your organisation, such as a lunchtime;
  • Māori language games sessions;
  • Māori language classes;
  • Kīwaha o te wiki/expression of the week e.g. Tautoko! (I support that)
  • Promoting te reo Māori on your intranet.

How do we measure our level of te reo?

Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori has a number of tools available to indicate te reo competency including the - Māori Translators and Interpreters Exam, Māori Language Level Finder Exam, the Public Service Māori Exam, and we are trialing the Te Reo Māori Assessment that has been developed by NZCER. Wānanga, Universities and other educational institutions also have methods to assess competency.

 

Where/how do we get resources to develop/implement/review a plan?

Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori has a number of resources on this site to help organisations self-assess, develop, implement, review and refresh their Māori Language Plans

Who do we need to get involved?

When developing a Māori language plan, form a working group made up of current staff members dedicated to driving the plan right from the start led by Senior Leadership. This will ensure that more than one person is responsible for development and implementation.  Ideally, your working group would consist of staff from a range of business units, including a Senior Responsible Manager.

Can you help us make/provide/advise on a waiata, karakia, Māori name?

There are links on our site to waiata and other resources. These can also be found on youtube.com and through google. Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori’s Language Services Team is available to help your organisation find an appropriate organisation name. Follow your usual consultation process

Do you have a pronunciation guide?

We have a written guide and are currently developing other products to help with pronunciation

We don't have a budget for this - what can we do?

Te Taura Whiri i te reo Māori does not have the resource to assist organisations financially to language plan. Organisations should work within current baselines to support revitalisation of te reo Māori. There are actions that organisations can take that have minimal financial impact such as:

  • replacing signage with bilingual signage during normal maintenance
  • developing the policy framework to support revitalisation effort in the future e.g. email greetings and sign-offs
  • using some of the resources on this website e.g. Job Title word lists

Who is responsible for managing this?

Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori advise that a Senior Responsible Officer (SRO) be appointed from within your organisation's Senior/Executive Leadership Team and that SRO reports directly to the CEO and the E/SLT on the plan and progress.

Does this require me to do more than BAU?

Yes! The planning process takes time. Implementation takes time and resources. Reviewing and refreshing takes time. Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori advises that you consider in the organisation te reo Māori plan who is responsible for actions and the commitments involved. Keep things simple and look at a cycle of continuous improvement – a step by step process.