Politics | Waitangi

Māori development minister says government is for Māori

The downgrading of Te Aka Whai Ora and the forced reinstatement of English names to government departments plus ACT’s Treaty principles bill have raised some alarm among Māori but Māori Development Minister Tama Potaka says the government is supportive of te reo Māori and there should be no worry from the general public about the survival of the language.

“We absolutely support te reo Māori as a fundamental part of our country’s DNA, our country’s identity, past present and future, and we should continue to do that.”

Potaka is a graduate of Te Panekiretanga o Te Reo - The Institute of Māori Language Excellence and has learnt under the tutelage of some of Māoridom’s greatest academics.

He says the government supports the use of te reo Māori no matter where people are.

“It’s our birthright and it’s our kids’ birthright, so don’t stop. Kia kaha ki te kōrero māori,”

Aside from the use of Māori in spaces, Potaka also believes that he and Health Minister Dr Shane Reti are ready to implement stronger policies that benefit Māori directly.

“What we’d prefer to do is say, no government doesn’t have all the answers, actually iwi, communities, business’ have a lot more answers between them than just government alone,” he says.