Push for te reo Māori in South Wairarapa

8:10 pm on 29 January 2024
South Wairarapa District Council's draft Māori Policy.

South Wairarapa District Council's draft Māori Policy. Photo: Emily Ireland

South Wairarapa District Council is seeking the endorsement of a refreshed Māori Policy that will ingrain the use of te reo Māori within the organisation and community.

The Māori Policy was first adopted in June 2009 and applies to all work, elected members, and staff of of the council.

The current two-page document has no mention of te reo Māori use but does make mention of the underlying principles of the Treaty of Waitangi: partnership, participation, and protection.


Although it is meant to be reviewed every three years, it has been almost nine years since a policy refresh.

Under the refreshed five-page draft policy, the council will be obligated to provide opportunities for staff, elected members, and appointed members to "learn, understand, and speak te reo Māori".

"South Wairarapa District Council acknowledges te reo me ōna tikanga Māori [the language and its cultural practices] and specifically, te reo Māori as an official language of Aotearoa New Zealand and will promote its use within the organisation and the wider community," the draft policy states.

Under the draft policy, the council would also ensure Māori cultural values, protocols, and practices are respected and incorporated into council activities, events, and decision-making processes.

The council would also seek advice and direction from the appropriate persons on correct place names for use in council documents.

The draft policy will be discussed at tonight's Māori Standing Committee (MSC) meeting.

If MSC endorses the document, it will be presented for adoption at the council's Strategy Working Committee meeting on 14 February.

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