21 Jul 2014

Labour launches Te Reo campaign

7:41 am on 21 July 2014

The Labour Party wants all New Zealanders to be given the option to learn Maori, as part of its Te Reo Rangatira policy.

The party's Maori Affairs spokesperson, Nanaia Mahuta, launched its Te Reo campaign at west Auckland's Avondale markets on Sunday.

Some Maori political candidates are making the future of the language one of their main campaign issues.

Labour says its policy will encourage the use and learning of Te Reo in schools, but says it won't be making it compulsory.

Nanaia Mahuta said one of the main goals was to increase the number of proficient Te Reo speaking teachers.

She said she accepted that would be a big challenge, as the country didn't have enough kaiako to respond to the growing levels of demand.

Other parts of the policy include support for Maori arts, including the National Kapa Haka competition Te Matatini, as well as looking at how best to support national Maori theatre initiatives.

Labour says it will also include continued support for Maori Television and iwi radio and reviewing the contribution those mediums have to raising levels of proficiency in Te Reo.