26 Jul 2010

New Zealand's Maori Language Week enters its 35th year today

11:23 am on 26 July 2010

The thirty-fifth Maori language week gets underway today in New Zealand, but despite its growing profile, speakers say the language is still endangered.

In the 1970s, Maori became concerned there was a real risk of the language dying out, due in part to government policies, including prohibiting Te Reo in schools.

The chair of the Maori Language Commission, Erima Henare, says more people are now speaking Maori, but only at a beginner level.

He says most people study Maori at NZQA levels one to four, but few pursue the language to bachelor, masters or doctoral degrees.