Tō ‘Tātou’ Reo Rangatira: National Treasure or Taonga Māori – An investigation into the motivations of Pākehā in learning the Māori language
Thompson-Teepa, Carel (2008) Tō ‘Tātou’ Reo Rangatira: National Treasure or Taonga Māori – An investigation into the motivations of Pākehā in learning the Māori language. Other thesis, University of Otago.
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Shortly after the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi the English language became the dominant language of New Zealand society. It became the language of government and the medium of instruction in schools. Today we live in a society where English is not only a national language but an international language. With such importance that is placed on the English language why do non-Māori people, that are fluent in the English language, choose to learn the Māori language? The Māori language is a stronghold for the Māori culture and its people, however, more recently the Māori language has become increasingly important to New Zealand society as a whole. A look at the importance of the Māori language to Māori, as well as to New Zealand society and its identity, will be undertaken. This aims to demonstrate the importance of Māori language revitalization and the benefits to all New Zealanders in its survival. This research explores the motivations of modern-day Pākehā in learning the Māori language. This investigation would not be required if the Māori language was still a major tool for communication in New Zealand. Therefore this research examines the role of the Pākehā introduced education system in suppressing the Māori language. Kōhanga reo and Kura Kaupapa Māori are also considered as education initiatives that encouraged the revitalisation of the Māori language. Furthermore, the motivations of early Pākehā settlers in learning the Māori language are examined. This provides a comparable difference to the motivations underlying today’s Pākehā for learning the Māori language. A look at Pākehā, at a national level, who have assisted in the revitalization of the Māori language, is also taken. Through these ii investigations it is demonstrated that Pākehā learning the Māori language is not a recent development, nor is it an isolated occurrence. Finally, the motivation of Pākehā, at a regional level, to learn the Māori language will be examined. Consideration will be made as to how they utilize their knowledge of the Māori language, as well as the attitudes of Māori and non-Māori toward the efforts of these people.
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