A language revives
Every year since 1975 New Zealand has marked Māori Language Week. This is a time for all New Zealanders to celebrate te reo Māori (the Māori language) and to use more Māori phrases in everyday life. In 2015 Māori Language Week runs from 27 July to 2 August; the theme is ‘Whāngaihia te reo Māori ki ngā mātua’: ‘helping parents to pass te reo on to their children’. This is an aspect of the underlying theme of Māori Language Week, ‘Arohatia te Reo – cherish the language’.
Te reo Māori is undergoing a resurgence and more people speak the language. There are Māori-language schools, Māori radio stations and a Māori television channel. There was a time when some people objected to hearing Māori greetings such as ‘Kia ora’. The campaign to revive the language has been a long one.
The future of te reo Māori was the subject of a claim before the Waitangi Tribunal in 1985. The tribunal’s recommendations were far-reaching. Māori became an official language of New Zealand in 1987. Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori was established in the same year to promote te reo. Along with the Human Rights Commission and Te Puni Kōkiri, it plays a key role in the annual Māori Language Week.