Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori - Māori Language Week

Page 2 – History of the Māori language

Decline and revival

In the last 200 years the history of the Māori language (te reo Māori) has been one of ups and downs. At the beginning of the 19th century it was the predominant language spoken in Aotearoa/New Zealand. As more English speakers arrived in New Zealand, the Māori language was increasingly confined to Māori communities. By the mid-20th century there were concerns that the language was dying out.

Major initiatives launched from the 1980s have brought about a revival of te reo. In the early 21st century, about 125,000 people of Māori ethnicity could speak and understand te reo, which was an official language alongside New Zealand Sign Language.

One land, many dialects

The Māori language evolved in Aotearoa over several hundred years. There were regional variations that probably widened because local populations were relatively isolated. These variations had their origins in the fact that the ancestors of modern Māori came by canoe from different villages and islands in eastern Polynesia. Māori had no written language, but the symbolic meanings embodied in carving, knots and weaving were widely understood.

Māori: a common means of communication

For the first half-century or so of European settlement, the Māori language was a common way of communicating. Early settlers were dependent on Māori for many things and had to learn to speak the language if they wished to trade with them.

Language figures

In 2006:

  • 131,613 (23.7 per cent) of Māori could hold a conversation about everyday things in te reo
  • One-quarter of Māori aged 15 to 64 could hold a conversation in te reo
  • Just under half (48.7 per cent) of Māori aged 65 years and over could hold a conversation in te reo
  • More than one in six Māori (35,148 people) aged under 15 could hold a conversation in te reo.

Source: Statistics New Zealand 2006 Census

As more settlers arrived, the need for written communication in Māori grew. Missionaries first attempted to write down the Māori language in 1814. Professor Samuel Lee of Cambridge University worked with the chief Hongi Hika and his junior relative Waikato to systematise the written language in 1820. Literacy and expanded numeracy were two exciting new concepts that Māori took up enthusiastically. In the 1820s missionaries reported that Māori all over the country were teaching each other to read and write, using materials such as charcoal and leaves, carved wood and the cured skins of introduced animals when no paper was available.

Up to the 1870s, and in some areas for several decades after that, it was not unusual for government officials, missionaries and other prominent Pākehā (European New Zealanders) to speak Māori. Growing up with Māori youngsters, their children were among the most fluent European speakers and writers of Māori. Particularly in rural areas, interaction between Māori and Pākehā was constant. 

Kōrero Pākehā

Pākehā were in the majority by the early 1860s and English became the dominant language of New Zealand. Increasingly, te reo was confined to Māori communities that lived separately from Pākehā.

Most Pākehā did not understand that the Māori language was an essential expression and envelope of Māori culture, important for Māori in maintaining their pride and identity as a people. Speaking Māori was now officially discouraged, and many Māori themselves questioned its relevance in a Pākehā-dominated world where the most important goal seemed to be to get ahead as an individual.

The Māori language was suppressed in schools, either formally or informally, to ensure that Māori youngsters assimilated with the wider community. Some older Māori still recall being punished for speaking their language. In the mid-1980s Sir James Henare recalled being sent into the bush to cut a piece of pirita (supplejack vine) with which he was struck for speaking te reo in the school grounds. One teacher told him that ‘if you want to earn your bread and butter you must speak English.’

By the 1920s only a few private schools still taught Māori grammar. Many Māori parents encouraged their children to learn English and even to turn away from other aspects of Māori custom. Increasing numbers of Māori people learnt English because they needed it in the workplace or on the sportsfield. ‘Kōrero Pākehā’ (Speak English) was seen as essential for Māori people.

A language lives

Despite the emphasis on speaking English, the Māori language survived. Until the Second World War most Māori spoke te reo as their first language. They worshipped in Māori, and Māori was the language of the marae. More importantly, it was still the language of the home, where parents passed it on to their children. Political meetings, such as those of the Kotahitanga parliament in the 1890s, were conducted in Māori; there were Māori newspapers; and literature such as Apirana Ngata’s waiata collection, Ngā mōteatea, was published in Māori with English translations.

The language that Māori spoke was changing. All living languages are influenced by the other languages their speakers hear. English became the major source of borrowed words, which were altered by Māori usage to fit euphonically and grammatically.

Loan words such as teihana (station) and hōiho (horse) are called transliterations, Some transliterations were unnecessary. Māori had perfectly good names for places like Napier (Ahuriri), but sometimes transliterations of the European names, such as Nepia (Napier) and Karauripe (Cloudy Bay), were used. The English language in New Zealand was also changing and borrowing words from Māori or Polynesian languages, such as taboo (tapu), kit (kete) and Kiwi (a New Zealander).

The lure of the city

The Second World War brought about momentous changes for Māori society. With plenty of work available in towns and cities, Māori moved into urban areas in greater numbers. Before the war, about 75% of Māori lived in rural areas. Two decades later, approximately 60% lived in urban centres.

English was the language of urban New Zealand – at work, in school and in leisure activities. Māori children went to city schools where Māori was unknown to teachers. Enforced contact between large numbers of Māori and Pākehā caused much strain and stress, and te reo was one of the things to suffer.

The number of Māori speakers began to decline rapidly. By the 1980s fewer than 20% of Māori knew enough te reo to be regarded as native speakers. Even for those people, Māori was ceasing to be the everyday language in the home. Some urbanised Māori people became alienated from their language and culture. Others maintained contact with their original communities, returning for important hui (meetings) and tangihanga (funerals), or allowing the kaumātua at home to adopt or care for their children.

Seeds of change

From the 1970s many Māori people reasserted their identity as Māori. An emphasis on the language as an integral part of Māori culture was central to this identity. Māori leaders were increasingly recognising the danger that the Māori language would be lost. New groups with a commitment to strengthening Māori culture and language emerged in the cities.

In 1972, three of these groups, Auckland-based Ngā Tamatoa (The Young Warriors), Victoria University’s Te Reo Māori Society, and Te Huinga Rangatahi (the New Zealand Māori Students’ Association) petitioned Parliament to promote the language. A Māori language day introduced that year became Māori language week in 1975. Three years later, New Zealand’s first officially bilingual school opened at Rūātoki in the Urewera. The first Māori-owned Māori-language radio station (Te Reo-o-Pōneke) went on air in 1983.

Major Māori-language recovery programmes began in the 1980s. Many were targeted at young people and the education system. The kōhanga reo movement, which immersed Māori pre-schoolers in the Māori language, began in 1982, when the first kōhanga reo opened in Lower Hutt. Other programmes followed, such as kura kaupapa, a system of primary schooling in a Māori-language environment.

The ‘Kia ora’ controversy

Increasingly, Māori words were heard on radio and television, and read in newspapers. The first Māori television programme, Koha, was broadcasting from 1980. Some announcers began radio shows or news bulletins by saying, ‘Kia ora’.

But there was some controversy. In 1984 national telephone tolls operator Naida Glavish (of Ngāti Whātua) began greeting callers with ‘Kia ora’. When her supervisor insisted that she use only formal English greetings, Glavish refused and was demoted.

The issue sparked widespread public debate. Not everyone was keen to hear ‘kia ora’ used commonly, but many others came out in support of Māori greetings. People called the tolls exchange to speak to ‘the kia ora lady’, and airline pilots began to use the term to greet passengers. After Prime Minister Robert Muldoon intervened, Glavish returned to her old job. Eventually, she was promoted to the international tolls exchange, where she greeted New Zealand and overseas callers alike with ‘Kia ora’.

Legislating for change

Efforts to secure the survival of the Māori language stepped up a gear in 1985. In that year the Waitangi Tribunal heard the Te Reo Māori claim, which asserted that te reo was a taonga (treasure) that the Crown (government) was obliged to protect under the Treaty of Waitangi. The Waitangi Tribunal found in favour of the claimants and recommended a number of legislative and policy remedies. Māori was made an official language of New Zealand under the Maori Language Act 1987.

Māori Language Week quiz

There are now many institutions, most set up since the 1980s, working to recover te reo. Even so, the decline of the Māori language has only just been arrested. There is a resurgence of te reo, but to remain viable as a language, Māori needs a critical mass of fluent speakers of all ages, and it needs the respect and support of the wider English-speaking and multi-ethnic New Zealand community.

Angela Ballara

How to cite this page

'History of the Māori language', URL: https://nzhistory.govt.nz/culture/maori-language-week/history-of-the-maori-language, (Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated 12-Sep-2023

Community contributions

13 comments have been posted about History of the Māori language

What do you know?

Cornelius Mahoney

Posted: 02 Aug 2023

Very interesting article. The Crown tried very hard to eradicater Irish Catholics after the Battle of the Boyne and the Scottish Clans after culloden.

John Tuckey

Posted: 05 Sep 2022

I remember hearing the Maori news on National Radio in the 1950s and 1960s. I think it was on Sundays about 4 or 5pm.
Rotorua Boys High taught te reo in the mid 1960s, and maybe earlier.


Posted: 14 Jun 2022

My life growing up in a school full of Maori kids along with European kids NOT ONCE where the Maori kids picked on ignored .They were class mates for many years . Different teachers each year.So think you are being feed incorrect information about growing up in New Zealand we are 3 islands not one aoterroa in one island .You can write anything you like but must be based on several observation not one of choice .We who are born in NEW Zealand are NEW ZEALAND'S people


Posted: 10 Feb 2022

Te reo is the pakeha university approved native person's language. Te reo is a means to hide the true identity o te tangata. Maori is actually a European name not a native word at all but it's these divisive means the European English have used to destroy the language and identity of my grandparents. I'm the last of the knowledge that was passed which was bullied beaten and psychologically forced to accept English as my language. If I defended my life I was criticized ridiculed and humiliated.

Anne Stewart Ball

Posted: 10 Sep 2021

This year 2021 is significant for Maori Language week.

This year has been the korero going on over what and how the New Zealand history in school will be taught.

We are told:-

"This new curriculum content will support ākonga to be critical thinkers and understand our past, in order to make sense of the present. They will be learning Aotearoa New Zealand’s histories from a range of people’s perspectives at a local and national level"

In our local heritage groups and historical societies there is a growing interest to include history of the respective iwi in our local areas in to stories, publications, heritage signs etc and to write the schools curriculums .

With COVID 19 lockdowns there has been an increased thirst by people wanting to learn te reo Māori Out here in rural world Aotearoa NZ , community gatherings of a small group have gathered together on zoom to converse and learn te reo Māori.

Looking at this section of NZ History on Page 2 – History of the Māori language as a local historian and also as someone who has whanau, hapu and iwi links am wondering why the article on this URL has a huge gap missing forty years of change for te reo Māori. One significant step forward was in 1961 with the formation of the Maori Education Foundation - this built on changes that occurred from 1929 in massive changes that were happening in rural " native" schools. A recognition by Douglas Ball on what was needed for curriculum in those schools. In the Te Ao Hou journal is an interview with Douglas Ball If I Only Knew Then What I Know now - Te Ao Hou July 1973 Page 22. There are some powerful forward thinking concepts in that interview. I feel also that the last paragraph is the essence : - " We could do this so easily because we have Maori organisations now to do it. Not tell them what they ought to have—this is the point. And having found it out then provide it, and provide it is a Maori setting—in a meeting house or other acceptable Maori setting and pay for it out of the free place regulations. It could be done so easily."

Yes 2021 is a significant year for Te reo Maori . For those of us in rural areas we can tune in to Maori Language on the radio, TV, You tube, Te Wananga Aotearoa, zoom it, skype it, face book it.

As a local historian I welcome the changes in the NZ History curriculum for schools and the increased use of Te reo Maori . The stories of our early engineering heritage and other whanau stories can be included , our Maori organisations and IWI are writing and including those stories. Going forward to the future and post COVID can see a new way of working together, having respect for another's history and language. Most essentially inclusive


Posted: 11 Mar 2021

In small South Island towns there are limited opportunities for kids from non-Māori speaking families to learn and speak Māori fluently. It would be wonderful if Aotearoa could plan towards bilingual street signs, so that even those of us who are older or have learning difficulties could build our vocabularies while going about our daily lives. We could even change some of the duplicate street names to words that wouldn't come up in regular conversation.

Te Ariki Makea Apera URIARAU.

Posted: 04 Apr 2019

Kia ora.
I am one of the few baby boomers left, born after the second world war, as l see so many of my school friends, work college's, rugby mates, army buddies fall away.
We all grew up as WW11 soldiers, children, & so many of my school mates fathers talked (koreo) of the war. Reading many archive literature in the army museum, I found that the Germans could not break the military maori code, which they used when they sent top secret messages to each other, by army radio proceedures. The maori battalion did not have to use the military en-coding & decoding military system of writting & sending messages. Thus the germans struggled to decode the maori proceedures, only to find out it was a language & not a coded military message. This was a huge advantage to the maori battalion, that could act on orders immediately, catching the Germans out many a time by their surprise attacks. I was a military signaller, in the kiwi battalion serving overseas, in Singapore, & I know how long it takes to encode & decode messages, before orders could get to the troops. Days could be wasted, & the Germans did break the N.Z army code & could act accordingly. BUT the maori battalion could act immediately. The Germans feared this battalion, which had made a BIG impact during this time WHICH won many battles for this battalion. After the battalion returned after the WW11, I became friends with many maori school boys from Ahuriri, & nearly every maori friend of mind had a dad who served in the MIGHTY MAORI BATTALION. The sad thing was, not one of these boys could speak tereo maori. We were not allowed. But the parents did. By the sixties, we all noticed that the maori language was dying big time. We were saying the English WAY of sounding maori names for our towns. Rotarua- wakatany, Tokarowa, koetoemaoree, Wongaray. At the age 6-7 years old, my school just out of Wairoa, named "Ardkeen" kura, was where My TEACHER changed My island NAME from, "Te Ariki" to (Terry) . This really upset my dad. The name TERRY has stuck all these years. During the colonization, the post office tried so hard to change all maori town sounding names to english names. South island lost a lot of names, but north island kept a lot of theirs.
(My point) With all the good they did during WW11, The language very nearly died. I have many stories of maoriudum growing up, from school Days, fathers blaming the government for taking away the maori battalion, pakiha girl friend, school teachers, sports team, socializing, school dance, seats at the movies, local swimming pools. How TIMES have changed. I am so proud of who I am today, & now I am studying koreo maori at "WANANGA Otautahi, a language that nearly died, & a language I may not have been able to speak. I sit in a class every Tues night with mixed nationalities, mostly pakeha, interacting with all, something I could not do in my school Days, I never did feel special, or unique at school growing up. I feel so proud & special now.
I would like to finish with my story. While serving with the NZ battalion in Singapore, where we were stationed. Our maori cultural group was invited to the EDINBURGH TATTOO during 1975. I was part of that cultural group that went to Scotland. What marvellous ambassadors we were for N.Z, & for the army & for maori culture. We had left a huge impact on the people of Scotland, as was written in the local papers. I am so proud of who I am & where I am today. Thank you. Arohanui


Posted: 12 Sep 2018

Who was specifically responsible for giving the Maori a written language? I don't believe missionaries would have the expertise

Dr. Ross Dunn

Posted: 14 Jul 2017

This page has an error in it. English is actually not an official language of Aotearoa, New Zealand. There are only two as of this date July 14, 2917: Māori and Sign Language.

John McCaffery- Te Reo Maori Society

Posted: 05 Apr 2016

Edited and corrected copy John McCaffery- Te Reo Maori Society
The Real Significance of Maori Language Week- “Ka Tu te Kohu”.
John McCaffery Te Reo Maori Society 1969- 2015
Tena tatou katoa aku rangatira, aku tuakana- Further information about the 1970’s revival is important to an understanding the significance of Te Ra me Te Wiki o Te Reo Maori these days, as it is a mistake to think that the modern revival of the language just began with Te Kohanga Reo in 1980. The flowering of the reo from the 1980s on began and succeeded because of the preparation of the seedbed and planting of the seeds that began in earnest the 1970s. We say in earnest because in the early 1960’s Hoani Retimana, Waititi (1926-1965) o Te Whanau a Apanui wrote the two book Te Rangatahi series (1962 & 1964) te reo Maori text books and in the mid to late 1960s some very significant other steps were taken, many of them led by Te Kapunga Matemoana (Koro) Dewes (Ngati Porou) . An early significant report was probably the Currie Report 1963 that led to the appointment of Alan Smith as Director of Maori & Pacific Island Education. He acted quickly and in 1971 The Report of the National Advisory Committee on Maori Education set out an agenda for the future. His Department included many tangata rongonui who he recruited to come and work there in the team and in the National Maori Education Advisory Committee. Alan a Pakeha with a Maori whanau understood the urgent need for action but was very constrained by the institutionally racism of the Department of Education and politicians of the time ( McCaffery PhD draft material 2014).

By this time the depth of the crisis for te reo can be seen in the drop of language proficiency in the years from 1900 to 1960, when the proportion of Māori fluent in te reo decreased from 95% to 25%. By 1975 it had reduced to 5%. These Department of Education reviews were followed by the introduction of the teaching of Maori as a timetabled subject in a few Secondary schools. However these developments were all led by adult speakers from strong rural tribal areas whose parents were by and large still native speakers of the language. The 1970’s however marked the first movement by young people, often in Urban areas, who faced a stark future without the language. It was this group that felt the loss, expressed their concerns publically and determined to rise up and do something about it …and it is the mobilisation and determination of these groups of young people who used the Te Wa o Te Reo Maori ( Te Ra me Te Wiki) as the mobilising focus for the revival movement… Tihei mauri ora !

Te Ra me Te Wiki o te Reo Maori then are the founding pou/ posts and beginning of this modern revival movement. Their significance has long been shrouded in mist as no one has yet published an insider history of this time other than from Nga Tamatoa's perspective. The following is a brief introduction on a broader perspective. To give a context- Ko John McCaffery ahau and I am one of several founding members of Te Reo Maori Society (TRM) from its origins at VUW in 1969-70. Inspired and taught by by Koro Dewes and led by Cathy Dewes, Whaimutu Dewes Rawiri Rangitauira, Joe Te Rito, Tom Roa, Lee Smith, Pineāmine Dewes, Rangi Nicholson, Robert Pouwhare, Miki Rikihana, Pia Tamahōri, and Hākopa Te Whata and many others. We crossed the marae at Parliament on September 14th 1972 with TRM elder Te Uenuku Rene, Koro Dewes, Nga Tamatoa (Hana & Sid Jackson, Rawiri Paratene & Lee Smith ..) to present the Petition. I was a TRM education representative on the Department of Education Maori language development work from 1972 to 1990 and with Tom Roa, Joe Te Rito, Rangi Nicholson and Robert Pouwhare and a publicity and strategy adviser to Te Reo Maori particularly on Pakeha Affairs to the current times, as the organisation lives on. My more recent work on te reo has been through the Faculty of Education at the University of Auckland on developing, teaching researching and and supporting bilingual/ immersion education programmes and the learning and teaching of te reo to to all New Zealanders . To me there is no one H\history about these early events, there are only histories that represent our personal views of events from our own perspectives. Here is one part of my view on the Wiki o Te Reo from my own experiences . I do not portray it as the views of all TRM members and the mistakes and memory errors are my own.  (He tono Please acknowledge the source of this information when it is used in your work and stories as it belongs to TRM ).

The 1972 te reo Maori Petition to Parliament in the name of Hannah ( nee Te Hemara) Jackson was a jointly supported partnership by both Nga Tamatoa ( primarily in Auckland though it had an Wellington branch. See Te Rito, 2008) and Te Reo Maori Society based at Victoria University of Wellington and together we formed “Te Huinga Rangatahi” from the original NZ Maori Students Association. Te Reo Maori Society operated in partnership with Wellington Teachers College Maori Club ( Jim Schuster, Tipene O'Regan, Keri Kaa) and under the patronage and advice of the Maori Graduates Association (especially Koro Dewes, Tipene O'Regan , Api Mahuika, Tamati & Tilly Reedy, Turoa Royal, Amster Reedy ma .. While Nga Tamatoa went on to fight the land battles Te Reo Maori Society remained focused only on the revival of the language and following the successful presentation of the Petition worked with the Department of Education ( Director Maori Education Alan Smith and staff Tamati Reedy, Turoa Royal, Sonny Wilson ma.\, the Maori grads organisation and the politicians to get a positive outcome to the hearing and the new policy for primary and secondary schools that followed ( Education Gazette notice 1974 ).

Te Reo Maori Society then established the 14th of September as an annual Te Ra o Te Reo Maori/ National Maori Language Day and ran it from 1972 to 1974 when the Department of Education asked that we move it to a date that all schools could take part as the 14th September fell in the August September school holidays. Te Reo Maori decided this would be a good time to expand it to a full week so in 1975 the first Te Wa o Te Reo Maori was held still organised and run by te Reo Maori but now in partnership with the Department of Education- 40 years this week 2015. Slowly Te Ra o te Reo Sept 14 fell into lesser importance as the focus was by now on the Week in July. Some of us however now believe te Wiki o te Reo should be moved back to September so the day of the 14th falls during the week itself.
Returning to the background of the week from 1970 we also formed a partnership with Dr Richard Benton at the Maori Unit at the NZCER (Tawini Rangihau, Hīria Tūmoana, Lee Smith) where many of our student members worked on the Who Speaks Maori in Aotearoa NZ survey work released in 1973/4 which provided research data to our own concerns about the widespread loss of the language. While Nga Tamatoa was advocating the teaching of Maori as a timetabled subject in schools especially secondary, Te Reo Maori from the beginning argued that only Bilingual /immersion Education would achieve the goals of language rejuvenation. In 1972 as part of the first Maori language day for instance, we helped organise the presentation by Dr Richard Benton of his NZCER Research paper- Should Bilingual Education be Fostered in NZ? This work has continued to the present day.
As a result of this pressure the new Labour government under Norman Kirk with with support of Te Reo Maori Society (where Whaimutu Dewes was by now a solicitor with Maori Affairs Department) and with Matt Rata as Minister of Maori Affairs, the new government passed a Maori Affairs Ammendment Act 1974 which recognised Maori as the official ancestral language of the Maori people. It still lacked national official language status however and was considered as a well meaning, but still inadequate token gesture as it proved to lack any legal rights for Maori or make any legal obligations on Government.

Te Reo Maori also worked with the Department and the Maori Grads to expand resources, programmes of work and professional development over the following years including the first pilot bilingual immersion education programmes (Benton, 1985) at Ruatoki , Tawera, Hiruharama, Omahu and informally St Peter Chanel at Puke Karaka in Otaki( Pa Gupwell) “Tihei Mauri Ora” the first te reo Syllabus for primary schools finally published in 1989-90. However the Government, the Ministry of Education, and the NZEI all sought to restrain these developments preventing the now urgent expansion that would be needed to save the language from intergenerational extinction. Consequently relations with the Department of Education grew more and more strained and Te Reo Maori and the Maori Grads expanded their research and political activities in support of these bilingual immersion developments.
The second strand of Te Reo Maori's work from the beginning was on broadcasting led by chairpersons Whaimutu Dewes and Rawiri Rangitauira. This resulted in 1973 submissions with a coalition of Maori organisations for a Maori radio station to the new Committee on Broadcasting which produced their report known as the Adams Report ( 1973) Their recommendations for a station were rejected by Government and instead Te Reo o Aotearoa as part of Radio NZ was established in 1978. Te Reo Maori Society again petitioned parliament with a 1978 Broadcasting petition but it was not until the mid 1980s that action on Maori radio happened. The 1984 Hui Taumata and the 1984 ( reported 1986) lodging of the Waitangi Tribunal Language Claim along with the formation of The Maori Broadcasters Association in 1985 and a Royal Commission on Broadcasting in 1986 finally forced Government into supporting the establishment of Maori radio. These early struggles in which every minute was hard won set the agenda and the battle lines for the Maori Radio and TV struggle to come. This did lead to Māori-language TV news programmes like Te Karere which screened for the first time in 1982. Also to Te Upoko o te Ika radio under Piripi Walker (first on air 1983 , permanently 1988), and the ropu Nga Kaiwhakapumau i te Reo broadcasting komiti which was originally a partnership between Te Reo Maori and the Wellington Maori Language Board. However a further Waitangi Tribunal claim with NZ Maori Council support was needed in 1989 when Government split BCNZ into two sections. The case went all the way to the Privy Council and while unsuccessful it did provoke the justice of the cause with $4.6 million funding from NZ on Air finally being made in 1990 with Te Mangai Paho emerging out of the 1993 Te Reo Whakapuaki Irirangi structure created by the 1983 Broadcasting Amendment Act ( See Piripi Walker. 'Māori radio – reo irirangi', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, updated 22-Oct-14
URL: http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/maori-radio-reo-irirangi/sources especially Matamua, Rangiānehu’s (2006)Te Reo Pāho : Māori radio and language revitalisation : a thesis presented for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Māori Studies at Massey University  and  Day, Patrick. A history of broadcasting in New Zealand. Vol. 1, The radio years. Auckland: Auckland University Press in association with the Broadcasting History Trust, 1994. Day, Patrick. A history of broadcasting in New Zealand. Vol. 2, Voice and vision. Auckland: Auckland University Press in association with the Broadcasting History Trust, 2000)
Other key TRM members in the broadcasting struggle who have continued the fight to this day include; Anaru Robb, Joseph Te Rito ( Radio Ngati Kahungungu), Robert Pouwhare first TV producers intake and one of Aotearoa TV’s founders ( 1996-7). (http://www.teara.govt.nz/en/maori-radio-reo-irirangi/page-3 )
In 1980 a Te Reo Maori Society branch was established by Tom & Robyn Roa and John McCaffery in Otara, “TRM ki Otara” where they had moved after returning to VUW in 1979 for a post graduate course. Together while Tom and Robyn Roa supported 1) the establishment of a Kohanga Reo at Kokiri Te Rahuitanga where Tom moved from Hillary College to teach 2) John Tom, Robyn, Tahi Tait, Miro Stephens, & Huia Martin ma, established the first urban Bilingual Unit within a school at Clydemore School Otara where “TRM ki Otara” was based which fed into Hillary College where Tom and Robyn had been teaching with Garfield Johnstone .
After Victoria graduation Cathy Dewes went to Wellinton Teachers College and Rawiri Rangitauira was admitted to the bar and became a founding member of the Maori Lawyers association. After Koro moved back to the East Coast to the family farm in 1976 Cathy & Rawiri moved back to Rotorua around and established the “Te Reo Maori ki Rotorua” HQ branch but keeping strong links in Wellington with Lee Smith, Piripi Walker, Anaru Robb and Huirangi Waikerepuru, an early Te Reo Maori member and VUW graduate and Nga Kaiwhakapumau chair. Whaimutu Dewes and wife Judy went to Tamaki Makaurau.

The frustration over the lack of action and support for the Maori Broadcasting and the Kohanga Reo follow on primary programmes for bilingual education along with the Courts denial of Dun Mihaka's right to use te reo in his own defence, led us all to believe that the language needed national status as a Official National Language to achieve the next stages of its revival. Consequently all efforts for some time went in to this goal . There were protest marches from 1980 in Wellington and TRM through Whaimutu Dewes and Rawiri Rangitauira worked with Whetu Tirikatene and Matiu Rata prepare several draft Official Maori Language Bills for her and the Labour Party in the early 1980s and at least three bills put up were defeated by National in this time. This in spite of Duncan McIntyre being the first really supportive National Minister of Maori Affairs.

In Manukau City Auckland TRM ki Otara had more success and managed to get the first official recognition for te reo in Aotearoa from Manukau City Council as an Official Language of the City , the first local authority to do so. The strategy was then adopted by “TRM ki Rotorua” where Paora Maxwell and the current Minister of Maori Affairs Te Ururoa Flavell were supporters. This local authority support spread and did put extra pressure on Govt. These joint actions by Te Reo Maori Society and eventual formal partnership with Nga Kiawhakapumau led to the 1984- (1986 reported) Waitangi Tribunal Claim, 1987 Official Language Act and the establishment of Te Taura Whiri I Te Reo Maori the long awaited Maori language Commission . When Tamati Reddy had became Secretary of Maori Affairs, 1983-1988 he formed Nga Kaiwhakapumau i te Reo with Huirangi Waikerepuru as its chair was formed as the new Wellington Maori Language Board to advise Te Puni Kokiri and the Secretary. This group contained many members of TRM and Upoko o te Ika Radio with Anaru Robb as TRMs key member . From then on the Broadcasting struggle was carried by Nga Kai in partnership with the NZ Maori Council( see also Te Rito, 2008, Winitana, 2011 & Piripi Walker’s work, ) This has continued through the Maori radio, TV and spectrum debates to the formation of Maori TV 2004 and into the present time.
When the Waitangi Tribunal reported in 1986 and ruled that the education system was being operated in breach of the Treaty the new Labour government moved quickly, perhaps too quickly, to finally grant official status to the language, set up the Maori Language Commission. We say too quickly because the Bill entered Parliament before the Waitangi Tribunal Report and the Bill did not contain all the recommendations of the Tribunal on measures that needed to be taken on the Official Language establishment. Missing in particular was the requirement for all Government Departments, not just the courts, to train all public servants in te reo and be able to also operate all their functions in te reo , at least to allow citizens to interact with Govt Departments in te reo Maori . The outcome we did get was a limited special funding allowance for public servants to learn and use te reo. However in 1988/9 the Courts ruled that the Act only provided for persons in NZ courts to use oral Maori but there was no provision for documents evidence or any other business to be conducted in the written form in the court system ( Huirangi Waikerpuru http://collections.soundarchives.co.nz/search.do?view=detail&page=1&id=1...). Even in the new replacement Maori language Bill 2015 these numerous omissions have not been rectified and this is disappointing indeed.

This historical Waitangi Tribunal finding however did open the door to the establishment of Te Rununga o KKM and Kura Kaupapa Maori schooling in the 1989 Ed Act. The KKM provisions were then supported by Treasury and a number of other Govt Departments and Advisory services on the grounds that the current Education system could not, or would not provide the types of language/s education being demanded by the Maori community. Meanwhile Cathy Dewes and Rawiri had established Te Kura o Ruamata at Rotorua in 1986 following Peter Sharples’ 1985 Te Kura o Hoani Waititi at Henderson, West Auckland. These first independent Maori schools were known as Kura Maori and the term KM was first applied to the KKM school established by Graeme and Linda Smith and Tuki Nepe and whanau at the Auckland College of Education in S Block in 1987. KKM established as fully funded state schools under a new section, 155 Special character provisions only by the 1989 Education Act. From this time the term KKM was backdated to Pita and Cathy’s schools established before the formation of the KKM Rununga or the Act.

Whakarapopoto- Conclusion

This is why Te Ra me Te Wiki o Te Reo Maori is so important in our history and our struggle- ina te whakatauki- "Tama Tu Tama Ora -Tama Noho Tama mate.

Otira me mutu au i konei mo tenei wa- ma te wa pea me timata ano te korero.

No reira koia nei etahi pito pito korero e pa an ki te timatanga o te Wiki o te Reo Maori e tu mai nei te wiki, ia July ia Tau. Ka maumahara hoki matou i a Rawiri Rangitauira o matou rangatira nana in mate i tenei ra te 27th i tera atu tau 2014. Haere ra e te rangatira i ki te huinga o te kahurangi , oti atu.. aue.. Kei te mohio hoki ahau kua warewaretia e au etahi atu taniwha e awhina nei, e whawhai nei i te kaupapa i tera wa- Aroha mai. Me email koe ki matou kia whaktikatika aku korerorero. Otira Nga mihi nui ki a koutou e nga uri whakatipu i enei ra ... aroha nui

John McCaffery [email protected]: [email protected] .
(He tono Please acknowledge the source of this information (when it is used in your work and stories as it belongs to TRM and note any mistakes are mine so is dedicated to those who have already passed on ki Paerau - Mere Te Awa, Teri McIntrye, Miki Rikihana, Pia Tamahori, Hakopa Te Whata, Rawiri Rangitauira, Te Kapunga Matemoana Dewes, Api Mahuika ratou ko etahi atu mema... ).

Tēnā koe John, koutou ko ngā mema, me ngā kaitautoko o te TRM Society,
 He pānui tēnei kia mōhio ai koutou kua puta he kaupapa kōrero ki runga i te Pae Tukutuku a Te Puna Mātauranga nei.
 Ko te kaupapa o taua kauhau, ko te wiki whakanui i te Reo Rangatira i te tau 1975.  Nā maua ko toku hoamahi Cellia Joe te tuhinga.
Ka tapiri atu i te tuhinga tētahi o ngā pikitia o te Ra maumahara i te rai  i whakatakotoria te pitihana Reo Māori ki mua i te aroaro o te Kāwanatanga.
 Heoi anō, me ngā mihi
 Paul Diamond
Curator, Māori
Alexander Turnbull Library | National Library of New Zealand Te Puna Matauranga o Aotearoa
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