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Innovative te reo prediction tool announced

Minister for Māori Development Willie Jackson. Photo: File/Daniel Hines/SunLive.

A new Māori language prediction tool will play a key role in tracking our te reo Māori revitalisation efforts, Minister for Māori Development Willie Jackson announced today.

He Ara Poutama mō te reo Māori (He Ara Poutama) can forecast the number of conversational and fluent speakers of te reo Māori from now until 2040, using a computer-generated statistical technique.

Jackson says being able to see the impact of language revitalisation efforts and see progress through a forward-looking lens is a powerful tool.

“We all need to do our bit to ensure te reo Māori is a thriving and living language and it’s heartening to see this happening across the motu. He Ara Poutama is clear, what we do now will have implications for years to come,” says Jackson said.

He Ara Poutama was a Te Whare o te reo Mauriora shared research project that was led by Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori, Te Mātāwai and Ministry of Education.

A summary report on the He Ara Poutama tool findings will be published next month.

Jackson says the tool is a great example of collaboration across the Māori language sector and would be important for helping research and decision-making within Te Whare o te Reo Mauriora.

 “For example, He Ara Poutama shows, that for rangatahi, both Māori and non-Māori, having a speaker of te reo Māori in the home is the biggest way to get them more likely to speak conversational te reo Māori.

“We must identify more opportunities to grow te reo Māori use in homes and communities. It will be critical to collaborate with Te Mātāwai because it is this entity which is generating critical insights from iwi and whānau Māori.”

Jackson says it's important to strengthen the pipeline of Māori language learners and gain traction towards our Māori language goals together in Aotearoa.

“Engari ki te kotahi te kākaho ka whati. Ki te kāpuia e kore e whati! If we stick to this and come together it can only be a good thing for us all.

“Can I also take this opportunity to encourage everyone to book and get their vaccine against Covid-19. Do it for yourself and do it for your whānau.”

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