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Maori Language

The Maori language is one of three official languages of New Zealand (the other two being English and New Zealand Sign Language). The history of the Maori language is a very interesting case study of the decline and subsequent revival of an indigenous language.

The Maori Language Commission was established to promote the use of Maori as a living language and as an ordinary means of communication. Efforts by Maori and the New Zealand Government have had a significant impact on the revitalisation of the Maori language and its use in modern New Zealand society.

Learn the Maori Language

The Korero Maori website was developed by the Maori Language Commission to raise awareness of Maori language and provide opportunities for people to learn and use the language. The site is for both newcomers to the Maori language as well as advanced speakers, offering several learning methods, including interactive conversations, as well as introductions to Maori language and culture.

You can also study the basics of the Maori language online through YouTube video lessons.

Maori Dictionary

There are a number of good Maori dictionaries available. You can find the English meaning of Maori words and vice versa using the online Maori Dictionary.

The Ngata Dictionary is another online option. The H.M. Ngata English-Maori Dictionary is the culmination of years of dedicated research commenced by Hori M. Ngata and was the first dictionary to provide an extensive selection of English to Maori headwords, illustrating usage in sentences and phrases drawn from a wide range of contemporary and traditional contexts.

Promotion of the Maori Language

Te Kohanga Reo serves to promote, support and encourage the use and retention of te reo Maori, promote and encourage the establishment and maintenance of Te Kohanga Reo Centres, and to liaise with government departments and other relevant bodies on aspects of pre-school tuition in Maori language and the administration of the Te Kohanga Reo programme.

One important initiative to promote and revitalise the Maori language in New Zealand was the establishment of a national indigenous broadcaster, Maori Television. Maori Television aims to play a major role in revitalising Maori language and culture and now has two channels, one of which (Te Reo) broadcasts 100% Maori language during prime time. In addition to the normal broadcast, numerous shows aired on Maori Television may also be viewed online through the Maori Television website.

Numerous Maori radio stations also broadcast in New Zealand and online.

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