The revitalisation of the Māori language began during the 1970s. By then, few Māori families spoke Māori, and there were fears that it was in danger of dying out as an everyday language.
This led to the development of Māori language education initiatives such as Te Kōhanga Reo, Kura Kaupapa Māori and Te Ātaarangi. By the mid-1980s, the focus has widened to include Māori broadcasting, which eventually led to the establishment of the Māori Broadcasting Funding Agency, Te Māngai Pāho, and the current network of iwi radio stations.
Te Reo Māori was made an official language of New Zealand in 1987 and the Māori Language Commission (Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori) was set up to support the growth of and promote the Māori language.
Developments since then include setting up the Māori Television Service in 2003. It now screens about eight hours a day of free-to-air Māori language and cultural programming, and is watched by about 62% of Māori. The second Māori Television channel, Te Reo, was launched on 28 March 2008, and currently broadcasts 3 hours per day, totally in te reo Māori on Freeview Channel 24 and Sky Channel 59.
By 2001 the number of Māori speakers had stabilised at around 130,000, or 25% of the Māori population. According to the Māori Language Survey undertaken for Te Puni Kōkiri in 2006, 27% of Māori now say they can speak the language very well, well or fairly well. Around 40% can understand or read it.
Attitudes towards the Māori language amongst Māori and non-Māori are improving. The Survey of Attitudes Toward the Māori Language, undertaken for Te Puni Kōkiri in 2006, found that the Māori language currently enjoys a high status in Māori society, and also positive acceptance by the majority of non-Māori New Zealanders.
The Health of the Māori Language in 2006.Fact sheet – Attitudes toward the Māori Language.
Te Puni Kōkiri is responsible for overseeing the implementation of the Māori Language Strategy.
The Strategy sets out a vision for the future of the Māori language – that by 2028 the Māori language will be widely spoken by Māori within their whānau, homes and communities.
The Māori Language Strategy has five main goals. They are:
Te Puni Kōkiri works with several other agencies and government departments to implement the Strategy. These include the Māori Language Commission (Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori), Te Māngai Pāho, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry for Culture and Heritage and the National Library of New Zealand.
Te Puni Kōkiri also helps organise Māori Language Week/Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori, which is held each year in July.
Kei Roto i te Whare / Māori Language in the Home. Reprinted 2008.Te Rautaki Reo Māori = Māori Language Strategy. 2003.
Māori Language CommissionTe Māngai PāhoKōrero Māori
Last modified: 31/03/2011
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