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 2014 Māori Language Week is from 21-27 July; the theme is 'Te Kupu o te Wiki', 'The Word of the Week’. This is part of the underlying theme of Māori Language Week, ‘Arohatia te Reo – cherish the language’. This year marks the 27th anniversary of the establishment of Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori (the Māori Language Commission).
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, alongside English. 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.