The Bilingual Land Our Hearts Know is Possible
Te reo Māori, the indigenous language of Aotearoa New Zealand, is intricately connected to these islands and their peoples. Despite herculean efforts to reverse language decline, mainly by Māori, it continues to be an endangered language. Pākehā comprise a small proportion of speakers of te reo Māori, but have a significant effect on the language as they comprise the majority of the wider population.
This research aimed to understand in depth the experiences of fluent Pākehā speakers of te reo Māori. It found many commonalities across this group, despite its diverse composition. The findings were complex and may appear paradoxical. These people have found ways to carry our colonial past, our complicated present, and our aspirations for the future, through their words and their actions. Their experiences can help to inform us about the multitude of challenges and advantages involved in becoming bilingual Pākehā citizens of Aotearoa New Zealand.