1 August 2012

Media Release 

25 years – Māori Language Act 

Twenty five years ago today the Māori Language Act was passed in Parliament. It gave te reo Māori official status and enabled speakers to speak Māori in court. The Act also saw the establishment of Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori (the Māori Language Commission) to promote the use of Māori as a living language and an ordinary means of communication.

Today Ministers, language advocates, past and present commissioners and staff pay tribute to the pioneers of the Act and honour the many people that have contributed to the Māori language movement.

Two retiring board members are also being acknowledged, Dame Iritana Tawhiwhirangi (Ngāti Porou, Te Aitanga ā Hauiti, Ngāpuhi) and Ruakere Hond (Taranaki, Te Whānau ā Apanui), with the welcoming of two new board members namely Dr Katarina Edmonds (Te Whānau ā Apanui) and Dr Poia Rewi (Tūhoe, Ngāti Manawa, Te Arawa, Ngāti Whare, Ngāti Tuwharetoa).

“It has been an honour to work alongside Dame Iritana and Ruakere who have served te reo Māori for all their lives and Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori as Commissioners for the last nine years. I have admired the work of Dame Iritana as a fearless advocate for te reo Māori and as one of the founders of the Kōhanga Reo movement and Ruakere as a long-time kaiako (teacher) with Te Ataarangi and a pivotal member of Te Reo o Taranaki. We warmly welcome our two new incoming board members Dr Katarina Edmonds and Dr Poia Rewi, who both bring a wealth of experience and impressive achievements within te reo Māori movement,” says Erima Henare, Board Chair of Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori.

“In the last 25 years there have been significant and monumental achievements for the Māori language speaking community and New Zealand which include the four Kura Reo held each year for more than 20 years; the community language fund - Mā te Reo supporting community led language regeneration for more than ten years; continued support for the Māori Language Week celebrations; and the production of the first monolingual dictionary, He Pātaka Kupu - He Kai a te Rangatira”.

Nicky Birch, 021 475 782, ,  




Māori Language Week is made possible with the support of:

Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori – Māori Language Commission
Te Puni Kōkiri – Ministry of Māori Development
Te Kāhui Tika Tangata – Human Rights Commission