Thursday, October 21, 2010

we have a major malfunction

The Waitangi Tribunal pre-report on the state of the maori language highlights the perilous and fragile position of the language. We should be scared if we care about Te Ao Maori. But fear must be turned into action and I don't have any problem with some people saying maori should take responsibility for their own language - give us the resources and we will. But there is a role for the whole country to be involved in rebuilding Te Reo because the aquisition of this language would open up the world of maori for people and that would add immense benefit to us all. Just imagine how different some of our discussions would be, how rich and subtle and satisfying - we would probably resolve issues much faster than today.

One aspect of the report is the context - we are still waiting for the Wai 262 claim - this has been 20 years now and many kaumatua who set the claim in motion are no longer with us - this pre-report does not address the Wai 262 claim and it is about time something was decided.

1 comment:

Evelyn Cook said...

It is hard to know what is the best thing to do. There are very committed people amongst our own iwi, and other iwi too, who have struggled to improve the amount of reo spoken, the depth and quality of that kōrero but many of our own are so colonised that they don't see the necessity to fight for te reo or the importance of their tamariki and mokopuna learning it, speaking it and valuing it.

It is about ten years since one of our rūnanga wrote my whanau a letter instructing us not to use te reo at the 'marae'! Where else would you use it?

Of course, the real necessity is for those who know te reo, ahakoa te iti, ahakoa te rahi, to kōrero. It is not acceptable to use words such as cemetery when you are speaking of the ūrupā, toilet instead of paku etc etc.

We, as a nation, need to value te reo more and ensure that the teaching of te reo is not left to teachers whose knowledge of te reo is limited to that learnt at college but rather to properly funded fluent specialists.

The school that I previously worked at has gone, in less than three years, from having a bi-lingual unit with two trained teachers, to no-one whose specialist role is to hāpai te reo. They, and other schools in a similar area and demographic, argue that they cannot afford specialist roles within the tight budgets that they face. While there is some truth in that, it is also true that there is a lack of willingness to make the commitment.

The children, not all of whom are Māori, want to learn. They, and we, are the losers in this battle but the ultimate price may be the loss of the true richness of te reo.

The fight of Timoti Karetu and those other battlers for te reo should not have been for nothing. We owe it to them, and to ourselves, to continue the fight.

Ka whawhai tonu mātou.
Kōrerotia te reo