Today marks 43 years since Māori language petition

43 years ago today, the Māori Language Petition was brought to Parliament's steps, gathering over 30,000 signatures calling for te reo Māori to be taught in schools.  

Māori activist group, Ngā Tamatoa, alongside the Te Reo Māori Society initiated the nation-wide petition.  

Koro Te Kapunga Matemoana Dewes, Hana Te Hemara, Syd Jackson,Reverend Hēmi Pōtatau, Mere Te Anga and Alice Coromandel were just some of the prominent figures who were present at the petition.

As a direct result of their actions, the Government then introduced the teaching of Māori in primary and secondary schools as an optional extra. It also established a one-year training course for native speakers to address the shortfall in qualified staff.

It was also on this year that the influential group played a huge role in establishing Māori Language Day, which then extended to Māori Language Week in 1975.