The history of Maori Language Week

In 1985 the future of te Reo Maori was so precarious that a claim as lodged with the Waitangi Tribunal. Following their far-reaching recommendations a commission was established and Maori became an official language alongside English in 1987.

As early as 1975 there had been a lot of work happening to try and ensure Maori remained a vital living language, with the establishment of Maori language Week. This gives all New Zealand an opportunity to celebrate te Reo Maori (the Maori language) and to learn and use common Maori phrases in everyday life.
Now, more than 30 years after those first initiatives, te Reo Maori is undergoing a resurgence and the number of people who speak at least some te reo is increasing year by year. New Zealand has Maori language schools, television, radio and of course books.

This year Maori Language week runs from 23-29 July; the theme is ‘Arohatia te Reo – cherish the language’. This year also celebrates the 25th anniversary of the establishment of Te Taura te Reo Maori (the Maori Language Commission).

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