The Press

Our new masthead

- Katarina Williams

The Press is this week published under the masthead Te Matatika, reflecting our history and showing our support for Ma¯ori Language Week. Te Matatika means to be honest, fair, impartial and unbiased. These are attributes our newsroom strives for and are reflected in our Latin motto Nihil utile quod non honestum meaning ‘‘Nothing is useful that is not honest’’.

Both Labour and the Greens want more te reo Ma¯ ori taught in schools, yet a highrankin­g minister concedes finding specialist teachers will be a struggle.

Instead, upskilling existing teachers and increasing Ma¯ori classes during teacher training may be the way forward.

The Green Party will hold a summit later this year to help develop a plan to introduce te reo Ma¯ ori as a core subject for years 1 to 10 by 2025.

Associate Education Minister Kelvin Davis said Labour was committed to increasing Ma¯ ori in classrooms, but there were not enough kaiako (teachers) to make the Greens’ proposal feasible.

‘‘We don’t have the capacity to deliver on that.

And what we don’t want is to be forcing the language on people, and have them not be equipped, and have negative feelings towards it.’’

Additional teaching resources would also need to be developed at an unknown cost, he said.

‘‘We’ve got to walk alongside teachers . . . this is good for all New Zealand. Te reo Ma¯ ori is a taonga. It’s relevant to all of us.’’

New Zealand Educationa­l Institute (NZEI) Te Rui Roa president Lynda Stuart said while the organisati­on ‘‘embraced’’ an increase in te reo teaching in schools, staffing and resourcing will be an obstacle.

‘‘There’s been a shortage of teachers with te reo Ma¯ ori skills for many years now, so what we’re saying is that we want to be able to attract people into the profession. It’s about upskilling those teachers who are in the workforce now, and those who are coming in to initial teacher education – it’s going to have to be a really big focus.’’

Davis, who said Labour has an ‘‘audacious goal’’ of having 1 million te reo speakers by 2040, addressed thousands of language advocates and school children on Parliament’s forecourt yesterday, ahead of a march through Wellington’s CBD to mark the start of Te Wiki O Te Reo Ma¯ori – Ma¯ori Language Week.

Teachers Toni KahuSweet and Rebecca Sellars took 59 students from Porirua’s Rangikura School to the march.

Neither teacher are native speakers, but both championed the need for more Ma¯ ori to be taught.

‘‘This is the only place that you can be Ma¯ ori. Any other nationalit­y has another home base. They have another flag. They have another country. They have another language. Ma¯ ori only has Ma¯ ori. It only has Aotearoa,’’ Kahu-Sweet said. ‘‘There are many Pa¯keha¯ teachers who want to learn and want to teach te reo, but maybe they’re not in the right environmen­t.’’

Sellars said making te reo a mainstream subject would help the language grow.

‘‘What we don’t want is to be forcing the language on people.’’ Associate Education Minister Kelvin Davis

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