The Te Reo Māori Claim - WAI11 (1985)

Nga Kaiwhakapūmau i te Reo (Wellington Board of Māori Language) is a voluntary organisation set up to promote te reo. At a meeting in 1983 it established New Zealand’s first Māori radio station to celebrate Māori Language Week. At the same meeting it decided to take a claim to the Waitangi Tribunal in the name of founding member, Huirangi Waikerepuru.

The claim was called ‘WAI11’ (as the 11th claim lodged in the newly established Waitangi Tribunal) and it would have a resounding  impact on the revitalisation of te reo Māori. In 1985 the WAI11 claim to the Waitangi Tribunal asserted that te reo was a taonga (treasure) that the Crown (government) was obliged to protect under the Treaty of Waitangi. The tribunal found in favour of the claimants and recommended a number of legislative and policy remedies. These recommendations were addressed in 1987 with the Māori Language Act.