The Green Party is challenging the Government to back a Te Reo Māori language month.
“Te Reo is a living language, cherished by many New Zealanders Pākehā and Māori alike. Supporting a month of awareness is just one small step John Key could take to promote genuine pride and understanding of our indigenous language,” Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei said.
“We have New Zealand Music Month, so why not Māori Language Month?
“It is disappointing to hear a teenage girl felt dismissed by the Prime Minister when she suggested a Māori Language Month.
“New Zealanders look to their Prime Minister to be a champion of our heritage and culture, and John Key is coming up short.
“The proportion of Māori people who speak Te Reo has dropped in the last two censuses, from 25.2 per cent in 2001 to 21.3 per cent in 2013.
“A language month would have been much more effective than a week at helping to reverse that trend. We can get so much more done in a month than a week.
“The past week has been great with our national cricket team playing under the name Aotearoa for the first time.
“The Green Party has been calling for the Education and Science Select Committee to open an inquiry into the capacity for our schools to teach Te Reo Māori.
“The Te Reo revitalisation movement has fought a magnificent battle for Te Reo rangatira, and it is time that politicians showed some real leadership to ensure all students have access to Te Reo.
“In recognition of the United Nations Decade of the World's Indigenous People, an earlier National Government celebrated the entire year of ‘He Taonga Te Reo - 1995, A Celebration of the Maori Language’.
“John Key is out of touch with what lots of New Zealanders want, which is to see Te Reo survive and thrive in its own country. Making one month of the year a focus is not too much to ask,” Ms Turei said.