Multimillion dollar boost for te reo

2:25 pm on 18 January 2018

Efforts to get more people using te reo Māori at home and in the community are getting a boost with a new regional funding model.

Māori language body Te Mātāwai developed the new model over the last two years, with the Tainui region in Waikato set to receive its share of more than $10 million.

For the last two years, Maehe Paki has worked at a ground level in her role with the iwi organisation Waikato Tainui.

In that time she has also seen wider community interest in the language grow and last year worked with Westpac on the rollout of a Māori language option at Waikato ATM machines.

She feels Te Mātāwai's iwi-led funding scheme will only help to grow the profile of te reo Māori.

04072016 Photo: Rebekah Parsons-King. Maori language week kicks off with a parade from Wellington Train Station to Te Papa. 4000+ people paraded through wellington to promote Te Reo.

Photo: RNZ / Rebekah Parsons-King

"It's not something that's going to happen overnight but you see that there's quite a bit of uptake in amongst quite a few communities right through the country embracing te reo."

Te Mātāwai was set up as an independent statutory organisation under the Māori Language Act and is charged with revitalisation of te reo Māori.

A total of $10.8 million is available for funding across eight groups per year - which includes seven iwi.

The eighth group Te Reo Tukutuku is responsible for growth in education, media, community and urban areas.

More than $1 million is available for groups in the Tainui region.

Ms Paki will apply for funding from the Tainui fund to deliver a service where fluent te reo speakers deliver classes closer to people's homes.

"We actually need to deliver out, out and about in the community rather than be centralised in Hamilton or Huntly or Ngaruawahia," she said.

Te Mātāwai tumu whakahaere Te Atarangi Whiu said there was excitement around moving away from a centralised funding model.

"We've enabled and empowered each of those cluster groups to determine what their investment priority are at a local level.

"As you can imagine that reo priority in our different communities will be diverse."

Te Mātāwai board member for Tainui Pānia Papa said its priorities would focus on growth and sustainability.

Developing resources and programs for whānau, she said, was key.

"Programs that support parents, young parents particularly, grandparents who want to engage with their mokopuna who might be going to kōhanga reo or kura kaupapa."

Applications for the Tainui round of funding will close on 26 January.

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