Community language maintenance: whose responsibility?

Update 26/05/2011:

The New Zealand Diversity Forum will be held in the Claudelands Convention Centre, Hamilton, Sunday and Monday 21-22 August 2011. For those interested in the maintenance of te reo Māori, there will be a forum on ‘who is responsible for community language maintenance’ to be held on Monday 22 August, 2011. The Te Reo Mauriora report will inform the discussion. Click the first link above to register your interest and see the schedule for the two days.

Extract

At this forum we will pose the question, who should take responsibility for providing for the learning and use of community languages? Should providing for community languages – including te reo Māori, Pacific and other community languages – be the responsibility of the Government, communities, or shared between the two? If responsibility is to be shared between the Government and communities, what form should shared responsibility take?

The Treaty of Waitangi is between two nations, Great Britain (the Government) and Māori, therefore the responsibility is both a legal and moral obligation that is binding between the two for the maintenance, revitalization, retention and future development of te reo Māori, first and foremost. Te reo Maori is the indigenous language of Aotearoa, and not just any language to be listed along side others, thereby somewhat diminishing its status.

However, if the Government grants an annual entry quota of migrants, immigrants or refugees into Aotearoa: New Zealand whose first language is not English, then they should at least provide some Government assistance to help develop their own language and also improve provisions to lessen the stress that comes with not only learning a second language, but also learning a second culture in a predominately Western, English speaking nation.

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