The Green Party has today announced its support for universal te reo Māori in all public schools and committed to creating a comprehensive plan to achieve it.
It has also launched a petition to support the call, and will be engaging with parents, tangata whenua and the education sector this year to develop a policy on how it will be delivered.
“The Green Party supports teaching te reo Māori to every New Zealand child and is committed to achieving it,” said Green Party Māori development spokesperson Marama Davidson.
“Despite huge progress over recent decades, the survival of te reo Māori is still not assured. In 2013, only 3.7 percent of New Zealanders spoke te reo Māori and the percentage of Māori who can hold a conversation in te reo Māori is falling.
“We have a responsibility to ensure that our indigenous language not just survives, but thrives in Aotearoa, and introducing all children to it at school is one of the best ways to make that happen.
“Learning a second language has proven benefits for children, as does Māori students being immersed in their own culture.
“We believe we need a real commitment from government, and real leadership, to make this happen.
“In 2015, the Green Party and New Zealand First proposed a select committee inquiry into the capacity to deliver te reo Māori to students. The Government didn’t think it was a priority, and so many of these questions remain unanswered.
“We are going to take the lead on this issue and do the Government’s work for them.
“Over the next year, the Green Party’s Māori caucus will engage with parents, teachers unions, hapū and iwi to create a plan that will ensure every Kiwi kid will learn te reo Māori up until Year 10.
“I’m really excited about every child learning te reo Māori in their school and falling in love with this beautiful language that is uniquely ours,” said Ms Davidson.