Don Brash’s opposition to te reo Maori being compulsorily available in schools shows he is leading the ACT party into oblivion, says Maori Party Co-leader Dr Pita Sharples.
“We are watching the final ACT, and Don Brash is bringing down the curtain,” said Dr Sharples. “His opposition to New Zealand children being able to learn Maori is irresponsible, discriminatory and out-of-touch.
“In 1987 te reo Maori was declared an official language of New Zealand (Maori Language Act 1987). Quite frankly it is appalling that almost quarter of a century later, Dr Brash is still reluctant to accept the basis of the law which informs and guides government agencies right across the state sector – let alone provides a basis for our evolving nationhood”.
“Te reo Maori is a gift from our ancestors, for us to share with all New Zealanders. The public celebration of Maori language and culture during the Rugby World Cup show most New Zealanders are ready and willing to accept the gift, and acknowledge its value to our national identity,” he said.
“The Maori Party celebrates our cultural diversity in New Zealand and welcomes the contribution that all cultures bring. But we can not forget who we are, and te reo Maori is the essence of our Maori heritage that places us in these Pacific islands,” said Dr Sharples.
“Our education policy recognises that te reo Maori is the birthright of all Maori children, it is an official language of this land, and its value is greatly enhanced if all New Zealanders can speak Maori. It is appropriate for the education system to reflect Te Tiriti o Waitangi to support the revitalisation of te reo Maori.
As the Maori Language Act 1987 states, “in the Treaty of Waitangi the Crown confirmed and guaranteed to the Mâori people, among other things, all their taonga: And whereas the Mâori language is one such taonga”.
Authorised by Pita Sharples, Parliament Buildings, Wellington