New research has shown the benefits enterprises see in taking part in the revitalisation of te reo Māori.
The government strategy for te reo Māori aims at having a million New Zealanders speaking basic te reo by 2040.
The Māori Language Commission Chief Executive Ngahiwi Apanui says the research, by Auckland University of Technology, shows that the incorporation of Māori language, terminology and tikanga significantly enhances job satisfaction and supports diversity.
Eleven hundred employees were surveyed and 14 enterprise case studies completed to identify how Māori language is being used now in organisations and attitudes towards it.
“It’s wonderful to read the comments of organisations that have found te reo Māori enhances their business and fosters individual and organisational wellness.
“We advocate the use of Māori language to bring people together as New Zealanders, whatever their background. It links us to our land, our history and our future.
“We also now have data on why some organisations are not taking up Māori language as part of their work. The research suggests that one issue is simple: fear. People worry about ‘getting it wrong’ and feel safer doing nothing. This tells us that we are on the right track with our support for te reo Māori language planning: a straightforward approach that identifies what can be done to support revitalisation in an enterprise and supports the organisation with advice and guidance.
“By July 2021 all public service departments will have language plans, joining other organisations that already have them in place in the public, private and community sectors. We’re expecting a big increase in interest and Budget 2019 has given us assured funding for the years ahead through Budget 2019 to provide support.
“We will be making this research available as organisations plan to help inspire and warn of possible pitfalls. Revitalisation is something every organisation can contribute.
It’s not a matter of ‘everyone learning Māori’. It’s about everyone doing what they can and making the best use of New Zealand’s language resource”.