Friday, October 19, 2012

Maori Language: Sink Or Swim Time?

The future of the maori language is at stake.
Well, that's according to the treaty gravytrain...opps, sorry...the Waitangi Tribunal, which has *yawn* once again lambasted the govt's treatment of maori early education centres (kohanga reo). It reckons the Crown has breached Te Tiriti by failing to adequately fund and support the total immersion movement, and the language is down the gurgler if more support isn't offered!
When we grow up, we'll score
ANOTHER billion from whitey!
Wharehuia Milroy, Kohanga Reo National Trust: "For all sorts of reasons...the govt has not been able to support kohanga reo in the way it was set out in the initial stages." (Hmmm, is that a hint of a conspiracy theory?) "We're talking about the demise of the language and if we don't provide an opportunity to vest our young ones with that language, I can see a time where we don't speak the language at all."
Te Tribunal held the urgent inquiry after publication of the report of the Early Childhood Education Taskforce, which - the claimants bleated - had not been consulted with them and had seriously damaged their reputation (oh really?! Methinx the average koiwoi barely knows it exists, let alone gives a damn about its reputation!). It recommended the govt apologise for Te Tiriti breaches it's supposedly made. (And naturally, said apology would have a compulsory multi-million dollar handshake attached, right?)
Yea. Right.
Education munster Hekia Parata: "Over a billion dollars have been directed toward funding kohanga reo over the past 20yrs. There is work under way in promoting greater participation in the early years of learning, and the govt is considering how best to support it."
And surely that must be the line in the sand: ONE BILLION dollars to prop up a language that's dying because the majority of its own people don't use it, and seem not to want it. Maori leaders have almost without exception said it's up to maori to use it or lose it. The country, still on its knees post-recession and post-EQs, cannot afford to burn such sums for no significant return, no buy-in from the very people this racially-skewed support is aimed at. When will someone have the balls to say "enough is enough"?

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