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Push for te reo Māori

South Wairarapa District Council [SWDC] is seeking the endorsement of a refreshed Māori Policy that will ingrain the use of te reo Māori within the organisation and community.

The Māori Policy was first adopted in June 2009 and applies to all work, elected members, and staff of SWDC.

The current two-page document has no mention of te reo Māori use but does make mention of the underlying principles of the Treaty of Waitangi: partnership, participation, and protection.

Although it is meant to be reviewed every three years, it has been almost nine years since a policy refresh.

Under the refreshed five-page draft policy, the council will be obligated to provide opportunities for staff, elected members, and appointed members to “learn, understand, and speak te reo Māori”.

“South Wairarapa District Council acknowledges te reo me ōna tikanga Māori [the language and its cultural practices] and specifically, te reo Māori as an official language of Aotearoa New Zealand and will promote its use within the organisation and the wider community,” the draft policy states.

Under the draft policy, SWDC would also ensure Māori cultural values, protocols, and practices are respected and incorporated into council activities, events, and decision-making processes.

SWDC would also seek advice and direction from the appropriate persons on correct place names for use in council documents.

The draft policy will be discussed at tonight’s Māori Standing Committee [MSC] meeting.

If MSC endorses the document, it will be presented for adoption at the SWDC Strategy Working Committee meeting on February 14.

Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air

Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland is Wairarapa’s Local Democracy Reporter, a Public Interest Journalism role funded through NZ On Air. Emily has worked at the Wairarapa Times-Age for seven years and has a keen interest in council decision-making and transparency.

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