The debate about whether te reo Māori should be compulsory in schools is a massive distraction.
What many people don’t realise is that schools already have a responsibility, under the Education Act, to provide instruction in te reo to every parent who asks for it.
The key point? You have to ask for it.
1 (Tuatahi): Find out what your school’s charter says in relation to the teaching and learning of te reo and tikanga Māori
This is often just a case of looking at your school’s website and downloading a copy of the charter.
By law, every school must detail exactly how they will reflect New Zealand’s cultural diversity, including providing instruction in te reo and tikanga Māori. You’ll most likely find statements that sound good on paper, but you may not always see reflected in the classroom. Challenge that.
If your child isn’t having any formal lessons in te reo, ask for it. Don’t be afraid to be a hōhā. The levers of change are much closer than you think.
10 (Te tekau): Use te reo every day, not just during Māori Language Week
Te wiki o te reo is an important week in the calendar. It’s an opportunity to celebrate our native tongue, to acknowledge how far we’ve come, and to set a course for the future. But it’s not the only week of the year to use te reo.
Yes, te reo is a taonga. But it’s not the same as Nana’s precious china, stored in a glass cabinet only to be rolled out on special occasions.
Te reo is a living language, and we should be speaking, loving and celebrating it, every day of the year.
Please head to The Sapling to read the article in full.