Gideon Porter

Rawinia Higgins – Taura Whiri landmark shows reo revival work

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Maori Language Commissioner Rawinia Higgins said te reo has come a long way since the commission was established 35 years ago.

Maori Language Commissioner Rawinia Higgins said te reo has come a long way since the commission was established 35 years ago.

She says that Māoridom owes a huge debt to the kaumatua and kuia whose knowledge seeded the revival of te reo.

After almost disappearing 40 years ago, new statistics show that nearly one in four Maori now speak Te Reo as their first language.

“It’s a real recognition of the hard work of these kaumatua and initially in our pakeke but also to create this new generation of Maori language speakers as first language speakers it’s a real testament to the collective effort that everyone put in the te reo,” says Professor Higgins.

She acknowledged the work of groups like Nga Tama Toa, the Te Reo Māori Society at the University of Victoria and Te Huinga Rangatahi – who petitioned Parliament in 1972 for active recognition of te reo Māori.