On the 50th anniversary of the Maori Language Petition, the Green Party is calling on the government to make te reo Maori a core subject in mainstream schools and to support Maori education groups in Kaupapa.

“It has been 50 years since the Maori language petition was presented to Parliament. Now is the time to ensure that all of our tamariki have the opportunity to learn our indigenous language,” said Green Party education spokesperson Teanau Tuiono.

“The Green Party supports Maori who have fought for decades to reclaim te reo and revitalize it for future generations in all educational settings. We support calls to ensure that Kohanga Reo, Kura Kaupapa, Kura a Iwi and the Wānanga are properly funded. There needs to be clear direction to find solutions designed by Maori, for Maori, delivered by Maori.

“Languages ​​are integrated with knowledge and information about culture, place and history. They carry meaning beyond the words themselves and shape the way people see and understand the world around them.

“For decades, successive governments have actively pushed te reo Māori to the brink. He was literally beaten out of whānau; generations of Maori have been denied te reo in school and denied it in their communities. Fifty years ago today, Maori activists launched the fight back. The call to action – “My language is my awakening; my tongue is the window to my soul” – has echoed over the past five decades and still resonates strongly today.

“These young activists knew that our ability to thrive depended on our ability to express ourselves in our own language. The stance they took sparked a movement that continues to shape Aotearoa. Today we celebrate what they have accomplished.

“Despite enormous progress over the past five decades, there is still a long way to go before we fully recover our language.

“The Green Party’s vision is that of Aotearoa envisioned by our ancestors when they signed Te Tiriti o Waitangi. Today we call on the government to honor the 50th anniversary of the Maori language petition – and the 33,000 people who signed it – by making te reo a core subject in the curriculum of all mainstream schools and adequately fund Kaupapa Māori education pathways.

“A big part of achieving this goal will be supporting teaching staff who are proficient in Te Reo Māori. The Labor government says it cannot make te reo a core subject because there are no teaching staff – yet it is not doing enough to develop these staff.

“Language is at the heart of everyone’s identity. It connects people, their families, their land and their culture. Recovering te reo is not just about learning words that have been stolen from us, it is part of the journey we are on to reclaim Aotearoa’s history as a colonized land,” says Teanau Tuiono.

/Public release. This material from the original organization/authors may be ad hoc in nature, edited for clarity, style and length. The views and opinions expressed are those of the author or authors. See in full here.

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