Story: Te reo Māori – the Māori language

Te reo Māori petition, 1972

In this 1972 news footage, a petition asking for te reo Māori (the Māori language) to be taught in schools is presented to Parliament in Wellington. More than 30,000 signatures had been collected.  

David Broughton, later known as Rawiri Paratene, (Ngāpuhi, Te Rarawa), was co-ordinator of the Māori Students Federation, and is shown discussing the importance of the language. 

At the end of the clip you can see Hana Te Hemara Jackson (Te Āti Awa, Ngāti Raukawa) of activist group Ngā Tamatoa presenting the petition to MPs. Among others shown are kaumātua Hēmi Pōtatau (Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāti Rākaipaaka), and Lee Smith (Ngāti Kahungunu). 

The MPs who are standing on the steps of parliament to receive the petition include Whetū Tirikātene-Sullivan (Ngāi Tahu, Ngāti Kahungunu), Matiu Rata (Ngāti Kurī, Te Aupōuri, Ngāti Whātua), and Duncan MacIntyre who was then Minister of Māori Affairs.  

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How to cite this page:

Rawinia Higgins and Basil Keane, 'Te reo Māori – the Māori language - Language decline, 1900 to 1970s', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 19 June 2024)

Story by Rawinia Higgins and Basil Keane, published 5 Sep 2013, updated 1 Sep 2015