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Harm to Maori language acknowledged

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 7/04/2016

The government has acknowledged the Crown's past policies and practices had a detrimental effect on the Maori language.

Maori Development Minister Te Ururoa Flavell on Thursday moved an amendment to the Maori Language (Te Reo Maori) bill which acknowledged the Crown's past actions contributed to the decline in the Maori language and had a negative impact on generations of iwi.

Parliament passed the amendment.

"Maori are familiar with the painful memories recalled by our grandparents' and parents' generations who were discouraged, and in some cases physically abused, for speaking te reo Maori at school or in public places," Mr Flavell told reporters.

"I hope the statement goes some way to acknowledging the pain and loss suffered as a result of successive Crown policies that have denied and suppressed our right to use te reo Maori."

The move stops short of an apology.

The amendment inserts a clause into the bill which says: "The Crown acknowledges the detrimental effects of its past policies and practices that have, over the generations, failed actively to protect and promote the Maori language and encourage its use by iwi and Maori."

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