Compulsory te reo wanted for schools

MICHELLE ROBINSON
Last updated 12:51 03/09/2012
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Te reo lessons should be compulsory in all Auckland schools, a long term plan for the city by the Independent Maori Statutory Board says.

The $30 million a year, 30 year plan to transform Tamaki Makarau, or Auckland, revealed last week also includes a desire for an "iconic cultural arts centre".

The plan was the first by the Independent Maori Statutory Board - which was established two years ago under legislation which also brought about the single council for Auckland.

The plan takes a snapshot of the cultural, social, economic and environmental wellbeing of Maori communities and what's needed to ensure better outcomes.

"It represents a change in that Maori can engage with the council in a pro-active, rather than reactive way," board chairman David Taipari said.

In the plan the board asks the Auckland Council to support the establishment of a te reo Maori Working Group to promote the language across the region.

It also asks for support in improving financial literacy and identifying opportunities for greater uptake in regional activities and sports.

Auckland is home to some 157,500 Maori, according to Statistics New Zealand.

The plan revealed that most Maori enjoy living in the city - of those surveyed, 63 per cent said the region was a ''choice'' place to grow up.

But 67 per cent voiced concerns of substance abuse and the ease of obtaining drugs and alcohol.

Those surveyed addressed a desire for greater visibility of Maori identity and culture, including more te reo signage, kapa haka, Maori art and imagery.

Auckland Mayor Len Brown said he recognised the plan was ambitious and would help improve the city but was cautious as to what could be achieved.

"The plan will become a reality. Not all of it. No one gets everything they want but good parts of this plan will become a reality.

''We are the largest Maori city in the world and I think Aucklanders are in a frame where they want to reflect and respect that."


Maori in Tamaki Makarau - where do they live? The Top Five Wards:

- Manurewa-Papukura Ward - 20.3%
- Manukau Ward - 14.8%
- Waitakere Ward - 13.9%
- Albert-Eden-Roskill Ward - 6.6%
- Maungakiekie-Tamaki Ward - 6.1%


Population characteristics:

- The Maori population is youthful with a median age of 23 - 24, compared with that of the total New Zealand population which is 37.
- Auckland's Maori population is expected to reach more than 200,000 by 2036.
- Auckland's projected to have about 133,000 working age Maori over the next 15 years.

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