He taonga te reo/Māori language is a treasure.

Year: 2018

Author: Tocker, Kimai

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

The Tiriti o Waitangi/Treaty of Waitangi, acknowledges the Māori language as a taonga/treasure to be protected.  But the notion of Māori as a taonga was soon disregarded.  From the 1867 Native Schools Act when English was deemed to be the language of schooling, English gained prominence. Within a century, Māori was in dire straits with only 5% of school age children able to speak the language.
In order to stop the decline of the language, Māori began the kōhanga reo/ Māori medium early childhood centres in 1982.  This led to the establishment, and eventual legislation in 1989, of kura kaupapa Māori- a primary school education in Māori language and culture- that aims to enable graduates to ‘live as Māori’ in the western world.  This paper argues that kura kaupapa Māori graduates are now making positive contributions as bilingual and bicultural citizens to New Zealand society and to the wider world.  The graduates and their Māori speaking children exemplify the positive future for Māori language and treaty practices.