Plan to have 1 million people speaking te reo Māori by 2040

The policy was launched at Te Matatini. - Photo: RNZ/Rebekah Parsons-King

The government has pledged to ensure one million people in New Zealand are able to speak basic te reo Māori by 2040.

The Crown's Māori Language Strategy was launched today at the national kapa haka festival Te Matatini.

A key focus of the strategy will look at building te reo capability of rangatahi, and developing initiatives to foster language learning.

These will include regional workshops, a social marketing campaign to promote te reo and a series of digital te reo lessons available on a variety of media.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said she wanted people to feel confident speaking te reo Māori.

"We've got a really aspirational goal. We want by 2040 a million New Zealanders to be able to kōrero with confidence in te reo Māori, so we've got a lot of work to do to get there.

"I've been very open about the fact that I'm on a language journey.

"I hope by being open about that perhaps I'll create a space for others to be comfortable about learning in a very public way."

Māori Development Minister Nanaia Mahuta said the launch of the strategy was a major step forward in the Crown's responsibility to protect te reo Māori.

"Te reo Māori is special to Aotearoa as it provides a unique context to experience our culture and history and the language is an important way to share our values and worldview.

"Te Matatini is an ideal forum to launch the Maihi Karauna as it draws together in the kapahaka art form the aspects of Māori oral histories through waiata, haka, mōteatea and poi compositions.

"The Crown has long held the responsibility to protect te reo Māori as a taonga and the Maihi Karauna sets out a context for that responsibility to inform how government can achieve this for all of us to use, share and protect te reo Māori."

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