Message from Chief Executive, Susan Warren

Posted on 13 September 2022

Celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Māori Language Petition 

Ngā mihi nui, ngā mihi mahana, ngā mihi aroha. Tēnā koutou katoa, Assalamu’alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh, Talofa lava, Malo e lelei, Kia orana, Nisa bula vinaka, Taloha ni, Fakalofa lahi atu, Ni hao, Namaste, and warm greetings.

Ngā mihi o te Wiki o te Reo Māori! This is a particularly significant celebration this year because it is 50 years since the petition for te reo Māori was presented to parliament.

So much has been achieved in those 50 years – recognition of te reo Māori as a national language, establishment of Te Wiki o te reo Māori, increasing use of te reo in media and official communications, a burgeoning interest in learning te reo, and the recent requirement for teachers to incorporate te reo in classroom practice. These changes are significant and eventuated due to the huge effort of so many, day after day and year after year.

Ironically though, the specific request of the petition is still to be achieved.  Here is what the original petition requested (in the language of the time):

‘We, the undersigned, do humbly pray that courses in Māori language and aspects of Māori culture be offered in ALL those schools with large Māori rolls and that these same courses be offered, as a gift to the Pakeha from Māori, in ALL other New Zealand schools as a positive effort to promote a more meaningful concept of Integration.’


I am reminded of the whakatauāki gifted to us by our late kaumātua, Mātua Kukupa Tirikatene. It speaks of reflecting on the good that comes out of our work, and of also reflecting on “ngā raranga i makere” (the dropped stitches) because they also have a message.  As we celebrate the many achievements of the last 50 years, let’s also turn our minds to how we can continue to work towards picking up those dropped stitches, so all tamariki and rangatahi in Aotearoa can have the opportunity to learn te reo Māori at school as part of the core curriculum.

Ngā mihi,