Girl in tears after John Key's Maori Language Week remark

(3 News)
(3 News)

A student at Waiuku College says the Prime Minister should apologise for his response to a question about extending Maori Language Week.

Trent Brown-Marsh says he was proud when his 16-year-old friend was picked to ask John Key a question, but says he was shocked by the Prime Minister's response.

Mr Key told students people might get "bored" if the week were longer, reducing the girl who asked the question to tears.

Mr Brown-Marsh says a few of his peers laughed and his friend stood strong, but later left the assembly in tears.

"I just felt sorry for her. From the leader of our country to say that, it wasn't professional at all."

Mr Brown-Marsh says his friend now doesn't want to go back to school.

He is calling for the Prime Minister to apologise for his response.

"I just want him to apologise to not only her, but to the people of New Zealand and the culture, the Maori people," he says.

Mr Brown-Marsh says he celebrates his language every day.

"If you could have a music month, of course you could have a Maori language month, a national language of New Zealand."

The Prime Minister's office says students have misinterpreted what was said and that Mr Key is in favour of Maori Language Week.

They say he believes it has a greater impact and people engage more if it's held over a shorter period of time.

3 News