16 May 2013

Maori language resources to get funding increase

7:55 pm on 16 May 2013

The Government is committing new money to set up a Maori Language Research and Development Fund that will lay the foundation for a new te reo strategy, to be launched later this year.

Over the next four years It will be giving $8 million, which will be administered by the Maori Language Commission to strengthen the evidence base for effective Maori language policies and programmes.

Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples says the Maori language is still in a critical state but he is optimistic following the increase in funds which will boost Maori language resources.

He says supporting Maori language regeneration is paramount in the effort to promote Maori development.

Dr Sharples says he's pleased that there are a range of measures across the Budget that are targeted towards Maori language.

Te reo scholarships

About 265 existing Teach NZ scholarships worth $4.7 million will be ring-fenced for Maori language medium education and secondary te reo Maori trainees over the next four years.

This money will be used to strengthen Maori language immersion education, and build the number and quality of Maori language teachers.

The Budget also focuses on attracting more competent Maori language teachers with $12 million being allocated over the next four years to support and retain new teachers in Maori immersion education.

Dr Sharples says there is a concern that 70% of new teachers in Maori language immersion classrooms leave this specialist area in their first three years of teaching.

The Ngarimu VC Maori Battalion Memorial Scholarship Fund will be given a one off increase of $250,000, which recognises the difference the scholarships are making to provide education excellence among Maori students.

Ma Te Reo which is a contestable fund to support community projects that increase the use and proficiency of te reo Maori will get an increase of $2.5 million.

The Government is also considering transferring more than $2 million of the Ministry of Education's Community Based Language Initiatives fund to Te Taura Whiri i Te Reo Maori.

As well, the Government is considering the idea of giving the Maori Language Commission an extra $15 million to fund Maori communities' engagement in learning Te Reo Maori in homes and on marae, which is in line with the principal recommendation of Te Reo Mauriora.