The Governor General's national Waitangi address highlighted a growing need for Māori language teachers.

“Today over 19,000 school students are taught the curriculum principally in te reo Māori and more schools every year are offering te reo Māori as a language subject. The fact that we do not have enough teachers of te reo Māori to meet the demand is both causes for celebration and concern.”

A veteran Māori teacher trainer, Tawhirimatea Williams, agrees but he says the ball is in the government’s court to make teaching a more attractive career option.

“Kei konei te hiahia e tatari ana kia huhua mai ngā tamariki i roto i te wānanga me ētahi atu whare wānanga. Heoi anō, nāu te kī, nā te uauatanga o ngā mahi ka taumaha te mahi, te maha o ngā mahi me wēnā mea katoa me te paku o te utu.”

Williams has been training teachers in Māori Medium Education for over 30 years. He believes the government has an obligation to sweeten the pot for prospective teachers.

“Mā te Kāwanatanga tonu e whakanui i te rangatiratanga o ngā mahi kaiako. Me pēhea tērā? Kei a rātou te huruhuru kia rere pai te manu. Koinā tētahi. Ākene pea, ko te whakamana i tō tātou reo kia noho tonu te reo Māori tētahi marautanga tūturu ki roto i ngā kura.”

These concerns are exacerbated by the fact that while the supply of Māori teachers is low, the demand is high with more people wanting to learn Māori, including Dame Patsy Reddy herself.  

“I hope that more New Zealanders will welcome and seek out opportunities to learn our nation's second official language. It is a journey that I am undertaking myself.”

It is said that for the language to survive, it must be learnt and spoken.

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