A strategic revitalisation budget for te reo Māori

The Māori Language Commission has welcomed budget moves to provide on-going support for language planning and to increase the number of certified translators and interpreters.

Budget 2019 has allocated additional funding of $2.460m per year to the Commission, including $1.5 million already allocated in the past two years and now made on-going.

The Chief Executive of the Commission, Ngahiwi Apanui says the funding is strategic.

“Language Planning is something the Commission supports, but it is other organisations that actually make the plans and put them into practice. Cabinet has decided that by the end of 2021 all public service departments will have language plans. We are also supporting private and community sector organisations and agencies in the wider state sector.

“And while the Commission is not funded to provide a translation service, it is able to encourage more fluent speakers of Māori to reach the high standards required for certification as a translator or interpreter under the Māori Language Act 2016.

“We are expecting a big increase in demand for translation services and will be upholding standards. It is important that as the Māori language revitalises its quality is maintained and enhanced. Our systems to licensing translators ensures this.

“These funding decisions mark the beginning of the implementation of the Crown’s Māori Language Strategy announced by the Minister of Māori Development Nanaia Matuta earlier in the year. The intention is that by 2040 there will be a million New Zealanders able to speak Māori to at least a basic level. 

“The budget has also made a small allocation for monitoring and evaluation. This will inform future decisions on the resources needed to support revitalisation.

“The proverb “the tree is known by its fruits” is well known in Māori and English. The Commission is conscious that the government, the Māori community and all who love New Zealand’s own language will be looking to us for results. We are confident we can deliver”.