Govt seeks advice on te reo in schools

Kelvin Davis Photo: RNZ/Jessie Chiang.

The government is seeking advice from Māori language experts as to how to get more teachers speaking te reo.

Associate Education Minister Kelvin Davis asked 12 experts at a hui in Wellington, in commitment with one of the Māori education initiatives flagged in this year's budget.

Kelvin Davis said the first initiative, Te Ahu o te reo Māori, would improve teachers' ability to speak and teach te reo.

"We want them to have the confidence and competence to be able to weave te reo Māori into their lessons, [and] to normalise te reo Māori in the classroom."

This initiative would be for all teachers but those in primary school in particular.

"It's about supporting teachers to be confident to teach te reo Māori."

The demand and willingness to learn was there, and the ultimate goal was to integrate te reo into the curriculum by 2020.

"We want all New Zealanders to feel that te reo Māori is just a normal part of our lives and that we can switch in and out of languages as we see fit."

The other initiative, Te Kawa Matakura, will work to strengthen te reo and mātauranga (knowledge) Māori of young people who already had some proficiency.

Mr Davis said his initial thoughts would be to target rangatahi (younger generation) who already embody tikanga (procedure) and mātauranga.

"We're looking at ways to enable them to do that so that they can go on to become our leaders of the future, confident and competent in the Māori world."

Sir Timoti Karetu was one of the experts at the hui and said the government needed to look at developing a teacher training programme.

"Until we meet that need I don't think that it's going to be that easy to do."

He was optimistic that teachers could integrate te reo in classrooms.

"I would hope that there was a willingness on the part of certainly teachers who are Māori, Māori in belief, Māori in upbringing and those sorts of things.

"If there are enough of them around I think that it will work but at the moment there is a limited number with any competence."

The two initiatives have been given $16 million over the next four years.


None of the objections here are justifiable.

Posted on 31-07-2018 15:06 | By Peter Dey

It is interesting that people find time to write objecting to more Maori language in schools but they all reveal that they are mostly ignorant of the value of more Maori language. They are simply revealing that their objection to more Maori language is emotional not rational.

Gigilo, we do not have the resources to teach Chinese or Spanish

Posted on 30-07-2018 12:35 | By Peter Dey

Gigilo, the best way for us to get more people able to speak Chinese or Spanish is to teach Maori to schoolchildren. Adults who want to learn Chinese or Spanish will learn more quickly if they know Maori. That is what educational experts say. The only second language that we have the resources to teach to schoolchildren is Maori.

Captain Sensible, learning Maori first is economic sense

Posted on 30-07-2018 12:31 | By Peter Dey

Captain Sensible, educational experts say that learning a second language at a young age makes it easier to learn other languages later. The only second language that New Zealand has the resources to teach is Maori, so teaching Maori in school is a good long term economic investment not a waste of money.


Posted on 24-07-2018 18:58 | By overit

Any kids wanting to learn Te Reo will find other options than school. It seems to be a retaining of heritage as Rastus put it. At the cost to the rest of us.


Posted on 24-07-2018 12:43 | By rastus

The first question I would ask is ’why’ - what is the point, other than Maori retaining their heritage, of learning a language that cannot be used internationally - a bit like the Welsh who also went down this road to nowhere. Yes its a lovely language, yes it can be used for telling stories of the past but, for the majority its going nowhere!

Must be Joking ...

Posted on 24-07-2018 10:14 | By Maryfaith

...... when he says ""We want all New Zealanders to feel that te reo Māori is just a normal part of our lives and that we can switch in and out of languages as we see fit." Yeah right - dream on!


Posted on 24-07-2018 09:48 | By overit

Get used to it folks. Its coming right at you. Kia ora.

Communication with the world

Posted on 24-07-2018 09:14 | By Gigilo

The most used languages in the world are Chinese and Spanish. These should be compulsory. Maori could be an option for those who deem it necessary. Very few people speak or understand Maori and this will always be the case.

No Thanks

Posted on 24-07-2018 09:09 | By Captain Sensible

Why don’t they seek advice from non-biased independent people and then see the result would be a resounding NO. This is criminal negligence wasting OUR hard earned money. I’d love to see a breakdown of these ridiculous costs that add up to $16 million.

Adding to the already crammed curriculum

Posted on 24-07-2018 08:52 | By bigted

Teachers are flat out teaching the basics to students. Enough! Stop this PC rubbish. Stop the frivolous waste of money on Hui. Stop the few dictating the terms and conditions of our future.

Te Reo Initiative costs how much...............?

Posted on 24-07-2018 01:43 | By teamjelly

16 Million !! our tax dollars hard at work and being spent wisely

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