The government has begun delivering on its plan to integrate te reo Māori across the education system with the launch of Te Ahu o te Reo Māori, which will support the workforce to use te reo Māori correctly. The programme was launched by the Associate Education Minister Kelvin Davis.
"This is a programme that will assist teachers in the classroom, in particular, mainstream schools, to upskill their knowledge of the Māori language so that they may be able to teach in the language, to talk the language, to read in the language," says Davis.
In Budget 2018 the government announced four te reo Māori initiatives that will be further outlined this year.
"The Te Kawa Matakura is another te reo Māori initiative that we will launch very soon," says Davis, "Te Kōtahitanga is also another initiative we will launch this year also."
Member of the Māori language expert team for the programme, Ruakere Hond says, "The decision was made by the ministry to look at the demographics of the people in the region and the types of learners within the region. So what they want is to assess the different types within the Taranaki-Whanganui region."
Wayne Ngata from the Ministry of Education says, "We are testing and assessing at this time within the four chosen regions. We want teachers from all the regions to assess this programme and tell us if learners are benefiting and if learners are developing more to what they already have learnt so that we may cater for Māori and non-Māori who participate in the programme."
"This is a stipulation in article three of the Treaty of Waitangi which says the protocols for learning shall be equal regardless of who the person is," says Davis, "It is only right that Māori children hear and speak their own language in the classroom."
Other regions where the programme is currently on offer include Waikato, Kapiti-Horowhenua and Te Waipounamu.