Student praised for Māori Language Week proposal

8:52 pm on 3 August 2015

The Māori Language Commission is commending a secondary school student for raising the possibility of extending Māori language week with the Prime Minister.

John Key visited Waiuku College on Friday where a 16-year-old girl spoke to him about creating a Māori language month.

John Key talking to media after his leader's speech.

John Key talking to media after his leader's speech. Photo: RNZ / Demelza Leslie

The chief executive of Te Taura Whiri i Te Reo Māori, Wayne Ngata, said the student showed a lot of courage by talking about her passion for the language to the Prime Minister.

"We support the student who was even thinking that way and thought to voice her opinion as well, we must commend her on that," he said.

The Prime Minister's office has denied media reports that Mr Key dismissed the student's suggestion.

It said Mr Key told her Māori Language Week was good as everyone gets in behind it, but he was concerned extending it to a month might not have the same impact.

Dr Ngata said in order to preserve the language it needed the support of all New Zealanders, not just Māori.

He said other students' actions, such as Kāpiti College's Finnian Galbraith's plea to respect the Māori language, and the 'Growing Up in New Zealand' report, which revealed that more younger parents were willing for their tamariki to learn Te Reo, were positive signs.

"Certainly the commission is heartened by comments, not just by Finnian, but by others who support that opinion as well, both Māori and non-Māori."

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