Homes for Māori language development in the 21st century : a Māori development thesis presented in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts in Māori Studies at Massey University
Why, in the 21st Century, is the New Zealand Government still in the business of making policy concerned with Māori resources, and why do Māori continue to allow this to happen? This thesis looks at an important Māori resource, the Māori language, and reviews the role of both Māori and the State in its development. It questions the sense of Government controlling Māori language and cultural development at the national level, given that cultural survival, including linguistic survival, is a fundamental Māori development goal, and this has never been a priority for any New Zealand government. The thesis suggests that while Māori might be achieving greater levels of self-determination at the iwi or community levels, the lack of an effective unified Māori body allows successive New Zealand governments to continue what is a very reluctant and reactive involvement in Māori language and cultural development. The New Zealand Government and the wider society it represents is not yet ready for substantial constitutional reform which would recognise the Māori right to self-determination. This thesis suggests, however, that it is ready, and in fact, may welcome, greater input and leadership from Māori, particularly in the area of Māori language and culture. Māori language and cultural development at the beginning of this millennium offers an opportunity for Māori to become involved in key policy development as a precursor to the inevitable time when Māori self-determination will be formally realised at the national level. While one day Māori will be wholly responsible for decisions relating to Māori language and culture and indeed all other Māori resources, for now, it must work with the Government to ensure that language and cultural development has a secure 'home' underpinning all Māori development.