05 August 2013

my dream new zealand

Cook Islands Language Week has begun and will go till Saturday.  I don't know about you, but I like the concept of having language weeks to raise awareness and celebrate our Maori and Pacific languages in a country where maintaining these treasures is something of a struggle.

While doing my last minute research for this post, I was a little sickened to find an article quoting the Minister of Education and Pacific Island Affairs, Hekia Parata as saying "it's not possible for the government to produce teachers in all the languages that communities might like".  I do agree that community support is key to the cause of language maintenance in New Zealand because without a communal buy-in, nothing can be sustained, however I have to side with Labour MP and Pacific Island Affairs spokesperson, Su'a William Sio in saying that responsibility cannot be solely placed on the community for the survival of their languages.

When it comes to language, the face of education would change in my dream New Zealand.  At the very least, te Reo Maori would be a compulsory subject in all primary and secondary schools as well as having the option to study a selection of Pacific languages, particularly the languages of the Cooks, Tokelau and Niue.

I believe it is completely possible.

This is me - Teine 'Afakasi.

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