Through acts of assimilation and racism, te reo Māori has been pushed to the brink of extinction. In recent years, millions of dollars have been poured into language revitalisation, yet fewer than 20 percent of Māori can speak te reo confidently. Normalising te reo is a language revitalisation strategy viewed as essential for its survival. The strategy advocates learning the language as a national duty, and a taonga for usage by all New Zealanders. Consequently, the uptake of te reo by non-Māori speakers has increased significantly. However, many Māori are feeling left out, unaccounted for and marginalised by the strategy, which they perceive as focusing on Pākehā accessing, speaking, and using te reo Māori. This talk brings to light the complex layers of our country’s journey to become a te reo Māori nation, and attempts to open up conversations and considerations for both Māori and Pākehā.

Dr Kiri Dell is a Senior Lecturer in the Business School. She is a Ngāti Porou woman living in her tribal territory of Ruatōria. Her main passion is working with whānau and activating their aspirations for whenua Māori. She holds various director, trustee and board roles across a number of organisations, and is a chair of the Indigenous Caucus of the Academy of Management. She has a lively and large whānau, which enables her to play the many roles of mum, aunty, daughter, sister, cousin and niece.

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Last updated: 13 July 2022