Māori language revival

Māori language revival

The Māori language revival is a movement to promote, reinforce and strengthen the speaking of the Māori language. Primarily in New Zealand, but also in centres with large numbers of New Zealand migrants (such as London and Melbourne), the movement aims to increase the use of Māori in the home, in education, government and business. The movement is part of a broader Māori Renaissance.

Until World War II (1939–1945) most Māori people spoke Māori as their first language but by the 1980s fewer than 20% of Māori spoke the language well enough to be classed as native speakers. The causes of the decline included the switch from using Māori to using English compulsory in schools and increasing urbanisation, which disconnected younger generations from their extended families and in particular their grandparents, who traditionally played a large part in family life. Even many of those people no longer spoke Māori in the home. As a result, many Māori children failed to learn their ancestral language, and generations of non-Māori-speaking Māori emerged.

Māori leaders began to recognize the dangers of the loss of their language and initiated Māori-language recovery-programs such as the Kōhanga Reo movement, which from 1982 immersed infants in Māori from infancy to school age. There followed in the later 1980s the founding of the Kura Kaupapa Māori, a primary-school programme in Māori.


Māori Language Week

A government-sponsored initiative, te wiki o te reo Māori has been celebrated since 1975 and is intended to encourage New Zealanders to learn or at least support the Māori.

Māori Language Act and Māori Language Commission

The Māori Language Act 1987[1] gave Te Reo Māori (the Māori language) official language status, and gave speakers a right to use it in legal settings such as in court. It also established the Māori Language Commission (initially called Te Komihana Mo Te Reo Māori but later renamed Te Taura Whiri I Te Reo Māori) to promote the language and provide advice on it.

Kōhanga reo

Kōhanga reo (Māori: literally "language nest") are Māori immersion kindergartens.

The first Kōhanga reo was founded in Wainuiomata in 1982, when there were fears that the Māori language was dying out.[2] The success of the kōhanga reo programme is such that they have been followed by primary schools and secondary schools (Kura Kaupapa Māori) where Māori is the primary language of instruction. The role of Maori language in education in New Zealand is enshrined in the Education Act 1989.[3]

The success of the concept has led to kōhanga reo in New Zealand that instruct in other Pacific languages, e.g. Fijian, Rarotongan, Samoan, and Tongan and other countries adopting a similar concept. A notable example being Pūnana Leo established in Hawaii to revitalize the indigenous Hawaiian language.[citation needed]

Kura Kaupapa Māori

Kura Kaupapa Māori are Māori immersion primary schools.

See also


  1. ^ [Maori Language Act 1987 http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/1987/0176/latest/DLM124116.html]
  2. ^ Ihaka, James (1 June 2009). "It's all go for Ngati Porou stalwart". The New Zealand Herald. http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10575737. Retrieved 19 October 2011. 
  3. ^ [Education Act 1989 http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/1989/0080/latest/DLM175959.html]

External links

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