13 Sep 2011

John Key criticised for not using Maori in speech

6:04 am on 13 September 2011

A former head of the Maori Language Commission says the Prime Minister's use of English only in his rugby World Cup welcome shows how much he and some government departments think of Maori.

A kapa haka judge, Te Napi Tutewehiwehi Waaka, has criticised Mr Key for not including a Maori greeting.

The former head of the commission, Haami Piripi, agrees, saying it is likely the Prime Minister just didn't think about whether to use Te Reo Maori - but it's disappointing his staff also overlooked it.

Both Mr Piripi and Mr Waaka have praised International Rugby Board chairman Bernard Lapasset, who in his speech greeted the crowd in several languages - including Te Reo.