International Day of World’s Indigenous Peoples critical to language

Today is International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples. This year’s theme of indigenous languages reminds us all that more can be done to revitalise, preserve, promote, and support the growth and development of indigenous languages. In New Zealand’s case our effort to promote the growth and revitalisation of te reo Māori will impact on our national identity and what makes us unique, says the Minister for Māori Development Hon Nanaia Mahuta. 

“The New Zealand Government stands with our international counterparts in recognising that indigenous development is fundamental to strong relationships between indigenous peoples and their governments. Language is a critical part of this. 

“New Zealand is one of first countries in the world to develop a roadmap to the United Nation’s Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. This will help to measure our progress in addressing indigenous rights and interests. Our Declaration plan will identify specific actions that can make real progress on the aspirations of Māori as the tangata whenua of Aotearoa - New Zealand .

“We have come a long way and there is much to do”, says Nanaia Mahuta.

Te Ture mō te Reo Māori 2016 (Māori Language Act 2016) created a new way of approaching language revitalisation. It sets out an active partnership approach between the Crown and Māori. The two complementary strategies that give effect to this active partnership—the Maihi Māori and Maihi Karauna – work together to ensure that te reo is a thriving, living language, and a normal part of New Zealand culture and society. 

“Rangatahi also play a vital role in the revitalisation, preservation and promotion of te reo Māori and we have some exciting and innovative programmes underway. This will culminate in a national summit which will put the spotlight on te reo Māori as part of the UNESCO 2019 International Year of Indigenous Languages,” says Minister Mahuta.