Invest in teachers - Sir Tīmoti Kāretu

updated By Ruth Smith

The Wellbeing Budget boasts $107 million towards Māori Development.  $33.84m over four years will be dedicated specifically to te reo Māori initiatives.  

Māori language expert Sir Tīmoti Kāretu, says his language comes from his elders. "For a long time, I have been saying that we need to use the money on teachers.  Why?  Firstly, so that the language levels of teachers can be improved.  Secondly, so that they are better at teaching."

The new budget funding pool sits at almost $34 million for reo initiatives.  $11.4 million has been allocated to Te Ahu o Te Reo Māori for operations for the following three years but Kāretu says there needs to be more focus on teaching.

"At the moment, it's very difficult to find teachers for Māori-medium schools, so, how are we going to service all schools?  Should he provide the funds for the training, then yes, it's achievable."

Minister for Māori Development Nanaia Mahuta says the Government wants one million speakers of Te Reo Māori by 2040.

"We saw in Ireland; they tried that in the past.  They made learning Irish compulsory and what's been the result?  We didn't hear the language being spoken.  Let's not let that happen to us."

One of the main focusses of this year's Wellbeing Budget is the revitalisation of the language to strengthen the country's cultural fabric.  According to Kāretu, there is sustenance in the language.

He says that in order for the language to improve to the Government's expectations, the funds must reflect that goal.