Te Reo Maori Society was formed in 1970 to encourage Maori language students, but later took on a political roll in promoting the language.
It was instrumental in organising a petition in 1972 that led to te reo Maori being taught.
Joe Te Rito from the society says radio and television has also helped to foster the language.
He says urbanisation and the lack of elders in cities to teach the language to young people caused a decline in the use of te reo, but with the advent of Maori television and radio, the number of people who speak the language has increased.
Mr Te Rito sayssays that while the language is still in dire straights, it's pleasing that there is a growing acceptance of it from non-Maori.