Compulsory te Reo Māori in schools?

Te Wiki o te Reo Māori  (Māori  Language Week) is being used to promote wider use of the language, and calling for compulsory te reo Māori in schools.

There has been some teaching of te reo Māori in schools for years, like days of the week, counting in Māori and other basics alongside cultural awareness and more. Schools in Dunedin with very small numbers of Māori pupils have popular kapa haka groups.

So I think the question is how much te reo Māori (and Māori  culture and history) should be taught in schools.

I’m happy for a continuation of what is being done with te Reo Māori in primary schools now, and perhaps an increase, alongside all the other specific and general topics on the curriculum. Fundamentals like reading, writing and arithmetic are essential, as well as art, music and physical education. Māori history, Aotearoa history and new Zealand history are important for kids to know something about.

All of these subjects are compulsory at Primary level now, so there’s no reason to change that. One question is whether to increase how much is taught.

And probably the biggest question is whether conversational Māori should be taught. I’d be happy if it was, to an extent. It should at least be promoted as a positive thing to learn.

But when it comes to Secondary level I don’t think Māori should be compulsory. Most subjects at this level should be choices for pupils.

Is English still compulsory? I expect so, and I think there’s a good case for this, especially to say Form 5 (now year 11). Everyone benefits from a good working knowledge of English in this country, and it is useful in many places around the world.

But I think that Māori, and French and Japanese and Chinese and any other languages, should be optional rather than compulsory at Secondary school.