Te reo Māori: 50 years of lessons

Presenter:  Ngahiwi Apanui, Kiriana Eparaima-Hautapu

Te reo Māori has been an official language of Aotearoa New Zealand for almost 36 years. The battle for te reo Māori began more than 50 years ago, at a grassroots level through peaceful protests and organising in our communities throughout Aotearoa. It was these efforts that led to te reo Māori becoming an official language in its own country in 1987. Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori / Māori Language Commission was born of activism and with the establishment of the Māori Language Act, te reo had officially become protected by legislation. More than three decades on, eight out of ten New Zealanders see te reo Māori as part of their national identity and continues to be part of their everyday lives. This presentation will cover the lessons learned in 50 years of fighting for te reo Māori, with a focus on legislative protection and public sector initiatives. It will also look at the efforts of Māori and non-Māori in Aotearoa in the revitalisation of te reo and how both these factors are crucial to where te reo Māori is today.