BSA: Using Te Reo Māori not a breach of standards

By Tumamao Harawira

"Nau mai haere mai ki te hōtaka nei, tēnā tātou kua whakarauika mai ki raro i te tuanui o Tāne Whakapiripiri, kei aku nui, kei aku rahi, tēnā koutou katoa" - That's what broadcaster Guyon Espiner of Radio New Zealand says as an introduction on Morning Report each day, and there is hope that this will be an even more common occurrence following the decision by the BSA to not consider complaints about the use of Te Reo.

The BSA has received 27 inquiries about the use of te reo Māori since June 2020, five times more than in the same period the year before, with two resulting in formal complaints.

Espiner says the decision is amazing. "The mana of Te Reo has already been established. It is the language of Aotearoa, an official language of Aotearoa. The language is the native tongue of this country, so, why would you even make an official complaint about language spoken on the show?"

The BSA had said Te reo Māori was an official New Zealand language and noted its use was protected and promoted by law. Broadcasting in the language was not a breach of standards. 

Broadcaster Guyon Espiner

Frequent complaints

Shannon Haunui of Radio New Zealand says the broadcaster still gets complaints about Te Reo being used. "Every day we receive complaints from our listeners about the use of the language, even though it's only small usage from our presenters."

But she says there is hope for the language within New Zealand's next generation. "Oh yes I'm so happy to see that. It's "easy as" for our children, no matter whether they are Pākeha or Māori. It was much harder though when I was growing up. There were a lot of challenges for my generation."

Espiner's hope is that the language finds" its rightful place" in society, or as he says, "Ko te tūmanako, ka hōrapa te ngāwari o te reo Māori ki ngā wāhi katoa o te motu."