Te Reo and Me

"We have spent the last 200 years battling for our right to speak te reo. Keep in mind Europeans have also had 200 years to learn te reo," she [Mawera Karetai] said.

[source: RNZ: Councillor disgusted by comments over reo Māori karakia at Grey Power meeting]

Seems fair enough eh, the law backs it up:

Although English is currently the most widely spoken language in New Zealand, Māori and New Zealand Sign Language both formally have special status under the law as official languages of New Zealand. People have the right to speak Māori and New Zealand Sign Language in any legal proceedings. 

[source: Human Rights Commission: New Zealands official languages]

Do I speak te reo, no, I don't. Like most Kiwis I am learning, picking up words as they become more and more prevalent but I certainly can't speak it. Nor can I speak any other language excepting English. I have the odd word or phrase in Welsh, a smattering of French from the dim and distant past, and that's about it.

I do have a sense of fairness and, in a lot of circumstances, a small ego and I don't ever feel the need to understand everything that is being said around me ... especially when I'm not expected to. If people want to jibber jabber away in their own language, fine by me.

If I am expected to understand something being said to me then, given enough warning and time (say around 200 years) it's up to me to learn te reo. I haven't and so I'm part of the problem not the solution. I certainly wouldn't be a twat like some are and think the problem is "them", that seems to me to be the height of missing the point of being a good person.


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