On the 14th of September in 1972, over 30,000 signatures were obtained for the Māori language petition, which was presented on the steps of Parliament by Hana Jackson (Te Hemara) of Ngā Tamatoa and Lee Smith (Te Reo Māori Society) and were led by kaumatua Te Ouenuku Rene because of concerns for the decline of te reo Maori at that time. This event preceded Māori Language Day on 14 September and, from 1975, Māori Language Week.
The following statement epitomised the essential characteristic of the 1972 Maori Language Petition:
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 Pākehā from the Māori, in all other New Zealand schools as a positive effort to promote a more meaningful concept of Integration’. Petition of the Te Reo Māori Society and Nga Tamatoa to Parliament, 1972.
Source (Auckland University)
The following list identifies some of the people who were instrumental in the development of te reo at that time as they appear in the video below:
Hannah Jackson (Late), Te Ouenuku Rene (Late), Professor Hirini Mead, Sonny Waru (Late), Koro Wetere, Professor Timoti Karetu, Kingi Ihaka (Late), Professor Patu Hohepa, Kara Puketapu, Dr Pita Sharples, Te Ataairangikaahu (Late), Derek Fox, Henrietta Maxwell.
“Ka mau ke te wehi! Developments in te reo Maori have come along way, but more needs to be done in the areas of teaching and learning resources, research and literature.