Maori language in crisis
aren’t and even many English speaking nations are taking steps to become multi-lingual.’’ Wales is a good example, she says. ‘‘You can do your entire education in Welsh. Why shouldn’t we be able to do that here? That’s what gets you the critical mass of people for a language to thrive.
‘‘Wouldn’t it be fantastic if everyone could speak English, te reo Maori and another language of their choice?’’
Newton Central School principal Hoana Pearson says for Maori to flourish it needs to be normalised in everyday language.
Twenty ethnic groups are represented at the primary school and every child can speak some Maori, she says.
The school has total immersion and bilingual units.
The achievement levels of the majority of students who are enrolled in the Maori language pathways at Newton Central School are equal or better than their peers in mainstream classes, she says.
‘‘It’s critical that everyone learn Maori. Learning another language is enhancing for everybody, particularly te reo which is deeply connected to this land and its people.’’
Action needed: Comet Auckland CEO Susan Warren says the government should do more to ensure Maori language is preserved.