20 Aug 2010

Time for compulsory Maori language at school - teacher

12:43 pm on 20 August 2010

A veteran teacher of te reo Maori says the time is right to introduce compulsory Maori language into the school curriculum.

A survey of 500 people by Research New Zealand has found under-35s were split 50:50 on the idea, although support drops away in older age groups.

Te Ataarangi teaching group chair Rahera Shortland started the first Maori immersion class in a mainstream school at Auckland Girls Grammar.

She says developments like Maori language week have paved the way for wider acceptance.

"I think there's more tolerance towards the language (now)," she told Waatea News.

Ms Shortland said the main barrier to rolling out compulsory Maori would be finding enough teachers.