"With numbers of fluent speakers dropping from 70,000 in the 1970s to just 18,000, revitalisation was still finely balanced, he said.
However, Massey University academic Dr Rangi Mataamua described the situation as alarming and said radical re-directing of funding to programmes that emphasised use was needed immediately.
"I think the situation is desperate and I think Maori can't use the excuse any more that, 'Oh, I can't speak it because my koro was smacked'.
"We're all responsible for our language. If you can't speak it, learn it. If you can't be bothered about it, then don't pretend you're enthusiastic about it. What makes us Maori isn't the colour of our skin or the tattoo on your arm, it's the language - and the ability to express our thoughts and hopes and desires in our own language."
Kaore ano kia tino hoki mai te reo Maori i te mate, i muri i te hekenga o te tokomaha o nga kaikorero i te 70,000 i nga tau 1970 ki te 18,000, e ai ki a Erima.
Heoi ano, na te kaiako o Te Kunenga ki Purehuroa na Takuta Rangi Mataamua i ki, me ohorere ka tika te tangata i enei ahuatanga, a, me tino whakatikatika te whakahangai i nga putea ki nga hotaka e whakamahia ai te reo i te tuatahi, inaia tonu nei.
"Kei te tino morearea te ahua o te reo ki ahau, a, ki a ahau me mutu inaianei te karo a te Maori i ki ra tatou 'ko au tetahi kaore e mohio ki te korero Maori na te mea i patua taku koro i te kura'.
"Te tikanga kei tena kei tena o tatou te kawenga mo te reo, ki te kore koe e korero Maori, akona. Mehemea kaore koe e aronui mai, kaua e rupahu ki te tangata he kaitautoko koe i te reo.
"Ko te ahua o te Maori ehara i te tae o te kiri, i te moko ranei kei te kiri o te ringaringa.
Ko te reo te tino ahua Maori o te tangata - ko to tatou reo ake hei rerenga korero kawe i nga whakaaro, i nga tumanako, i nga moemoea ki te ao."It is up to all of us to save our taonga - give te reo a go, enjoy the weather in maori and the correct names for our places, use our language - don't be discouraged - keep trying.