Andrew Little wants compulsory Te Reo in schools

Labour leader Andrew Little says he still needs more work on his te reo Māori (Simon Wong / Newshub.)
Labour leader Andrew Little says he still needs more work on his te reo Māori (Simon Wong / Newshub.)

Labour leader Andrew Little wants Te Reo Māori to be compulsory in New Zealand schools.

The country is been celebrating Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori - Māori Language Week over the past five days, and in an interview about it, Mr Little revealed his plans to take the language mainstream.

"I think it should be compulsory in primary school and certainly the first couple of years of secondary school," he says.

The Labour leader says Te Reo Māori was woven into the fabric of his community in Taranaki during his childhood, and now believes the country is ready to incorporate the language even further.

"I am a strong believer in new generations, Pākehā, Māori, whatever, learning Te Reo as a way of understanding Māori culture in New Zealand," he says.

"The one thing that distinguishes New Zealand around the world is our Māoritanga and I think those of us living here need to understand it."

The question around Te Reo Māori being made compulsory in New Zealand has created much debate in the past.

Mr Little says there are no qualms about English being compulsory in schools so the same rule should apply for Māori. 

"Understanding Te Reo, understanding Māori and Māoritanga is equally as vital in terms of growing up and understanding New Zealand, its origins and its future," he said.

Labour MP Jacinda Ardern agrees there are many pluses to learning Te Reo Māori.

"Most of my views around Māori being learnt in schools are based on my own disappointment over not being able to speak the language. When I was at school I really wanted to learn."

Ms Ardern says she ended up learning Japanese.

"The fact I've studied Japanese longer than I've studied Māori is a huge disappointment for me and I hope that the next generations have a lot more proficiencies in the language.

"It's not just about your ability to speak. It's about your understanding of culture, history, and the ability that it gives you in other areas of the education system," she said.

Mr Little says he still has a bit more work to do to improve his own use of Te Reo Māori.

"You can do a lot of practice with yourself but it's then when you're in front of a thousand eyeballs looking at you and you're desperate to get it right it's easier to trip over those words. But the more you do it the easier it becomes."

Rere ana Te Reo Māori i te tari o te kaiārahi o Reipa. E ai ki a Andrew Little me pērā hoki i ngā kura puta i te motu.

"I think it should be compulsory in primary school and certainly the first couple of years of secondary school," tā Andrew Little.

E ai ki a Jacinda Ardern he maha ngā hua o Te Reo i te kura.

"Most of my views around Māori being learnt in schools is based on my own disappointment over not being able to speak the language. When I was at school I really wanted to learn."

E kaha rāngona ana Te Reo Māori i ngā mahi i Te Whare Pāremata.

"Ki te kore te tangata e whakariterite i tana rautaki, i tana mahere, he ngoikore tana whaiwhai haere i Te Reo," tā Te Ururoa Flavell.

I runga ipurangi i horapatia whanuitia te whaikōrero a Jono Naylor o Nahinara mō te Pire Reo Māori.

"Just in recent times I've realised that my grandkids are going to be bi-lingual and so I thought it's going to be important to them so it's going to be important to me as their Pākehāgrandffather still to be able to converse with them," tā Jono Naylor.

Kaati, he toki tā Jono Naylor i tana tari. Heoi, kei hiahia hunaia pea i a David Seymour, inā rā he whakapapa pea tōna ki a Hone Heke.

"I haven't chopped down any flag-poles myself but if I start feeling that urge we'll understand why."

Āe marika he uri a David Seymour o Ngāpuhi.

"Several of my family members have started learning Te Reo at night class so I think this is happening right across New Zealand," tā David Seymour.

Newshub.

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