Flavell wants greater emphasis on te reo Maori

  • 27/07/2015
Te Ururoa Flavell (Simon Wong/3 News)
Te Ururoa Flavell (Simon Wong/3 News)

It is Maori language week, but Maori Development Minister Te Ururoa Flavell wants a greater focus on the language all year round.

Mr Flavell, who is a co-leader of the Maori Party, says even though there have been huge gains, it will be "back to the normal habits" once Maori language week is over.

He does not think New Zealanders are doing well enough when it comes to pronouncing Maori words – whether it is someone's name, the name of a street or suburb, or even Aotearoa itself.

"It's a wonderful language that we should be proud of, and people should take it up in a far more fervent way," Mr Flavell told reporters.

"Until we shake the tree a bit and make it an issue for all New Zealanders by pointing it out, sure it might take people back a bit, but at least it's got everybody to think about it."

Mr Flavell will back moves to make te reo Maori compulsory in schools because it would be another step to ensure the survival of the language.

"The courageous stand in this case would be for us to recognise that te reo Maori is so important to this country's heritage and nationhood," he said.

Te reo Maori is one of New Zealand's three official languages - the other two being English and New Zealand sign language.