Soaring demand for te reo in the workplace

By Will Trafford

The value of employees who can speak Te Reo Māori has been highlighted in a new report showing surging job listings for Māori speakers.

Data analysed by Ngāi Tahu’s innovation lab, Tokona te Raki (Māori Futures Collective) reveals job listings requesting Te Reo Māori as a skill has more than doubled in the past year.

Some 791 jobs listings sought Te Reo Māori speakers for the year to July 2021, compared with 324 the year earlier.

Big data researcher Hinerangi Curtis who forecasts employment opportunities for whānau in the Ōtautahi, Murihiku and Ōtākou rohe says she was surprised by extending her research to the rest of Aotearoa.

“My interest was piqued when I realised there has been a substantial rise in the demand for te reo over time,” she said.

The greatest demand for te reo Māori speakers is in the Pōneke/ Wellington region.

Hawke’s Bay was the only region to mark a decrease. However it’s likely a one-off drop rather than a downward trend as the region boasts amongst the highest demand in the country.

Nelson had the largest rise in jobs seeking te reo Māori speakers, at 800 percent.

Surging demand for workplace Te Reo Māori speakers.

Curtis says the report is heartening on the back of Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori, adding job prospects to the myriad of cultural advantages of learning Te Reo Māori.

“I'm so excited to present the findings because they tell such a positive story for the future of our Māori language. It is fantastic to see employers valuing te reo as a skill; it is affirming for our whānau that our reo, which has a widely acknowledged cultural value, also has a growing value within the New Zealand economy, and our careers. It tells a story of a country that is moving towards biculturalism as te reo Māori becomes more accepted and valued,” Curtis said.