National | Budget

Govt plans for million people to speak te reo by 2040

The government says it is committed to ensuring that basic te reo is spoken by a million people in Aotearoa by 2040, as part of this year's budget.

According to the latest statistics from the 2013 census, 148,400 people reported they could hold a conversation in Māori.

Minister of Māori Development Nanaia Mahuta says a key part of this year’s Wellbeing Budget is the revitalisation of te reo Māori to promote a stronger sense of national identity.

“This investment will underpin the growth of te reo across the Maihi Karauna and Maihi Māori programmes,” says Mahuta.

Nearly $10 million over four years will fund Te Taura Whiri, the Māori Language Commission and support an increase in certification for te reo translators.

Another $4 million dollars has been allocated to support events that build a shared national identity.

The Maihi Karauna programme provides support for te reo across a range of government and public service agencies.

A further $6 million will be invested in the Kāhui investment model run by Te Mātāwai. This investment will be used to support the Maihi Māori programme in the wider Māori community and also policy and advice for Te Taura Whiri.

The money will be earmarked for eight iwi and Māori language clusters across the country.

The Budget also funds $14 million of additional support for Te Māngai Pāho to produce quality Māori programming to support te reo Māori and wider cultural development objectives.

“Undertaking these initiatives shows a clear commitment from the Government to te reo Māori in the UNESCO International Year of Indigenous Languages 2019," says Mahuta.

Mahuta says te reo is a taonga that will strengthen the partnership between Crown and Māori.

“The language also makes a key contribution to New Zealand tourism and international trade,” she says.

“For te reo Māori to thrive by 2040, we all need to do our part to make it a working, living language.”