The Māori Language (Te Reo Māori) Bill was developed to establish Te Mātāwai.

The Bill:

  • affirms that the Māori language is a taonga of iwi and Māori, and that iwi and Māori are the kaitiaki of the Māori language
  • establishes an independent entity, Te Mātāwai, to provide leadership on behalf of iwi and Māori regarding the health of the Māori language
  • provides for iwi and Māori-language stakeholder organisations to appoint ten members to Te Mātāwai, and for the Crown to appoint two members
  • transfers responsibility and oversight for Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori and Te Māngai Pāho from the Crown to Te Mātāwai, and disestablishes Te Pūtahi Paoho and transfers its functions to Te Mātāwai.

The Bill strengthens and clarifies provisions from the Māori Language Act 1987 relating to:

  • the status of the Māori language as an official language of New Zealand
  • the right to speak Māori in legal proceedings
  • the granting of certificates of competency in the Māori language.

The Bill had its first reading in Parliament in 2014 and is currently before the Māori Affairs Select Committee which expects to publish its report in 2015.

You can access a current copy of the Bill here(external link).

 

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