The Māori Language Act 2016

The Act creates a working partnership for revitalisation between Te Mātāwai, representing iwi and Māori, and the Crown.

The Act recognises the value of the Māori language for the people of New Zealand and its importance to the identity of New Zealand. It states that: 

  • iwi and Māori are the kaitiaki of the Māori language, the indigenous language of New Zealand;
  • te reo Māori is protected as a taonga by article 2 of the Treaty of Waitangi;
  • the Māori language is the foundation of Māori culture and identity;
  • knowledge and use of the Māori language enhances the lives of iwi and Māori;
  • the Māori language should be used in the promotion to the public of government services and in the provision of information to the public;
  • te reo Māori is a language valued by the nation; and an official language of New Zealand.

The Act

  • establishes Te Mātāwai as an independent statutory entity to provide leadership on te reo Māori revitalisation on behalf of iwi and Māori
  • provides for Te Mātāwai and the Crown to develop to support the revitalisation of the Māori language. These strategies are Te Maihi Māori and Te Maihi Karauna
  • sets out renewed roles for Te Taura Whiri, Te Māngai Paho, and the Māori Television Service.
  • acknowledges the detrimental effects of past Crown policies and practices that have, over the generations, failed actively to protect and promote the Māori language and encourage its use by iwi and Māori
  • expresses the Crown’s commitment to work in partnership with iwi and Māori to continue actively to protect and promote this taonga, the Māori language, for future generations

This summary explains some of the main features of the Act. Please refer to the Act itself for legal purposes.


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