On the 13 of April 2016 Te Pire Reo Māori had its final reading before being passed into law. An historic occasion that was shared by the iwi of Tauranga Moana who signed their final Treaty Settlement Deed. There was a sense of anticipation, trepidation and excitement as the Minister of Māori Development Te Ururoa Flavell, introduced the third, and final reading of the bill, Te Pire Reo Māori.
Parliament was occupied by the usual Māori MP’s and a few pākeha from the Nats, (Jono Naylor) and Greens, (Denise Roche). Their impassioned kōrero gave weight to the bill, and reminded us that Pākeha also support the survival of the reo. Despite various reo initiatives the number of reo speakers are still declining with only 3.73 % of the population of Aotearoa who speak Māori.
Te Pire Reo Māori also establishes Te Mātāwai , an independent statutory organisation. Te Mātāwai board will consist of 13 members made up of 7 rohe representatives, 4 cluster group representatives and 2 from government. The Mātāwai will be charged with key roles and responsibilities;
a. to provide leadership in promoting the health and well-being of the Māori language
b. to support, inform and influence Crown initiatives in protecting, promoting and revitalizing the Māori language
c. to give effect, through its association with the Ministers of the Crown, to the relationship of the Crown with iwi and Māori in relation to the Māori language
d. in conjunction with the Minister for Māori Development and the Minister of Finance, to provide oversight and direction to the Māori Television Service.
Te Reo Tukutuku Mātauranga is 1 of 4 Mātāwai clusters.
Te Reo Tukutuku Mātauranga is made up of Kōhanga Reo, Te Rūnanga o Ngā Kura Kaupapa Māori o Aotearoa, Ngā Kura ā Iwi; and Te Tau Ihu o Ngā Wānanga.
From these rōpu one representative will be nominated to represent their interests and inform Government policy on kaupapa reo Māori.
Kōhanga Reo invited members of Te Reo Tukutuku Mātauranga to hui and to start talks as to what Te Mātāwai means for Kōhanga Reo, Kura and Wānanga. It was one of the few times that’s the four cornerstones of Te Reo Māori had sat as a collective to talk reo strategy and what was important to them. They also recognised the need to work together for the benefit of te reo.
The Reo Tukutuku Mātauranga will only have 1 representative on Te Mātāwai with rohe a iwi having 7 seats and with other interest groups choosing their own māngai . Kōhanga reo will have to work hard to ensure its voice is heard.
Iwi, and other Māori organisations have also started talks in preparation for the formation of the new Mātāwai board. In the next few months representatives will be appointed and Te Mātāwai board will be formed. Government has set aside $2 million to support Te Mātāwai.