Matrix of Māori Language Vitality Indicators


As part of the Māori Language Strategy approved by the New Zealand Government in May 2014, Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori is developing a Matrix of Vitality Indicators for the Māori language.[1]  This work is being done in consultation with other agencies working with the Māori language.

The Matrix will provide measures, targets and trends for progress against the five key results areas of the Māori Language Strategy:

Te mana o te reo – increasing the status of the Māori language in New Zealand society

Te ako i te reo – increasing the number of whānau Māori and other New Zealanders who can speak Māori

Te mārama pū ki te whakaora reo – increasing critical awareness about Māori language revitalisation

Te kounga o te reo – supporting the quality and appropriate use of the Māori language, and iwi dialect maintenance

Te kōrerotanga o te Reo – increasing the use of the Māori language among whānau Māori and other New Zealanders, especially in the home.

The Matrix will also include measures, trends and targets for two additional indicators:

  • Number of Māori language speakers
  • Attitudes towards the Māori language

The Matrix will gather information on Government’s contribution to increasing Māori language vitality, alongside key whole Māori language sector indicators. The Matrix will include data from Statistics New Zealand (Census and Te Kupenga), the Ministry of Education, Archives New Zealand, Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori and other key players.

The purpose of the Matrix is to help create an overview of Government’s contribution to Māori language vitality, and to highlight key areas of focus for Māori language planning and revitalisation activities.

Structure of the Matrix

The variables for each Māori Language Strategy result area are interrelated, as are the results areas. For example, if the status of the Māori language increases, then the number of those learning is likely to increase. If the number of those learning and speaking the Māori language increases, then the status of the Māori language and its use will increase. Despite the interrelatedness of the results areas, the most important vitality indicator is that of Māori language use – without the language being used, all of the other variables become meaningless.

Where possible, the Matrix will provide specific information on Māori, separate from overall population information, supporting the principle of whakamana whānau, whakapiki hapū, iwi – strengthening our focus on whānau Māori, hapū and iwi. By providing information specific to Māori, as well as information on non-Māori, useful overviews can be provided to help Māori language planning and initiatives, and also to raise critical awareness of some factors that may need to be considered when planning and implementing Māori language strategies.

Improved access to Māori language information is aimed at supporting Māori to lead Māori-language initiatives in their regions: supporting the principle of kia tū rangatira ai te ao Māori – strengthening iwi and Māori leadership.

The process of compiling the Matrix is leading to closer collaboration between Government agencies with lead roles for providing Māori-language programmes and services, a raised critical awareness amongst Government agencies, and increased knowledge sharing about the Māori language: supporting the principle of mahi tōtika – supporting effective, efficient and coordinated government that increases access to Māori-language programmes and services for whānau Māori and other New Zealanders.

Reporting on the Matrix

Regular reports on the Matrix will be published by Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori on this website.

[1]                 Ref Cabinet Minute 2014 17/12

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