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Ed Sheeran

Future for reo in core government funding

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The new chief executive of the Maori Language Commission wants to see te reo Maori made a core subject in primary school.

Ngahiwi Apanui comes into the job as a big part of Te Taura Whiri’s budget and responsibility for managing community initiatives is set to go to a new iwi-driven body, Te Mataawai.

He says that’s only a small part of the money tagged for Maori language revitalisation across government, and the agency needs to have a bigger say on policy.

The decline of four percentage points between censuses of the number of people who could speak Maori shows systemic change is needed.

"Should Maori be a core subject in primary schools? If I had the opportunity to promote that I believe it could have a bigger impact on te reo Maori than any other thing we could do with the $7.3 million we have for community funding," Mr Apanui says.

He’s also looking to build partnerships with the private sector to promote Maori language initiatives.

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