New Zealand has three official languages – English, Māori and New Zealand Sign Language.
Māori is the language of the indigenous population of New Zealand.
While English is widely spoken in New Zealand, Māori isn’t as common, even among Māori people.
So why is this?
One of the reasons is that in the 1930s and 1940s there was an abundance of work in cities and towns attracting over 75% of all Māori people who migrated into urban areas.
As English was the predominate urban language, Māori people had to adapt.
During this time Māori was openly discouraged from being spoken in schools.
Those that did like my Mother, received corporal punishment.
That is one of the reasons my Mother never taught me nor encouraged me to learn the language, because of the beatings she received as a child.
In 1972 Māori activists petitioned the Goverment to promote the Māori language, which prompted its revival in the early 1980s.
However, in 1984 a Māori women Naida Glavish who worked for Telecom as a National Toll Operator, began greeting callers with “Kia Ora”.
Kia Ora in Māori means Hello.
She was admonished and demoted by her Supervisor.
This caused widespread public debate about the use of Māori language in the public sphere and divided the country, becoming known as the ‘Kia Ora’ controversy.
Can you imagine how uninteresting this world would be, if wherever you traveled no one spoke their native tongue because they were discouraged from doing so?
Three years later in 1987 Māori became an official language of New Zealand.
Whilst ensuring the Māori language survives is the responsibility of all New Zealanders, this isn’t helped by the New Zealand Media who continue to corrupt the language on a daily basis when they mispronounce common Māori words.
It is their responsibility to present accurate news.
The Media’s carelessness and misuse of the Māori language is disrespectful and an embarrassing shame.
Especially given that they are articulate in their pronunciation of foreign names and places.
What is preventing the New Zealand Media in taking as much pride in presenting international news, as they do in presenting local news?
New Zealand Journalists are taught to write tee-line shorthand and about the Treaty of Waitangi (founding document of New Zealand), similar to the American Constitution. However, they are not taught the basics of the Māori language.
Why aren’t New Zealand Journalists given any training in Māori language basics? and if they are, why aren’t they using it?