Saving Maori: Strong language from weak politicians

Opinion 20/01/2018

By Roman Travers, RadioLIVE broadcaster.

OPINION: What are we as a nation if we don’t want to ensure that our first people’s language is preserved and cherished?

What is it about New Zealand that makes us any different to any other nation in this ever shrinking world?

We clearly don’t have the strength of character to stand upon our own feet and sever the ridiculous ties that keep us in the shadows of Great Britain.

We haven’t even got the economic foresight and moral fortitude to rid ourselves of a flag that screams of a colonial past that has a great deal to be ashamed of.

Isn’t having a unique and beautiful language something to be incredibly proud of? Isn’t that something worth fighting for?

So now we are letting burnt out, has-been politicians take the stage and make ephemeral statements about our nation’s first language. Why are they given the platform to assert opinions that can only serve to instigate doubt and uncertainty in a political landscape already filled to the brim with that?

Bill English recently said, "You can't rely on a Government and a bureaucracy to save someone else's language." The fact is though Bill; this isn’t someone else’s language. It’s ours.

This isn’t someone else’s language. It’s ours.

But it is also true that you can’t rely on a government to do anything. Not a sausage.

How many times have you been sucked into the vacuum of a political party promise, only to be disappointed once the shiny baubles of office have overcome the MP?

Frequently we are told that compromises have to be made in a coalition government or that the financial cupboard was bare upon arrival. So sorry… let’s look at that again another time. A cynic might say: yeah… election time perhaps?

There are several things that you can depend upon a government to do – regardless of their political leaning to port or starboard. Maintaining law, order and services that ensure New Zealand works for us all, taking huge chunks of our incomes to pay for this and other less tangible pursuits and promoting New Zealand on the world stage.

We don’t need anyone in Parliament to give the Maori language the coup de grace that Bill English attempted to do. We need politicians to ensure that it doesn’t die.

I can see no plausible reason why anyone would speak out against the Maori language and its survival.

We need politicians to ensure that it doesn’t die.

We have the All Blacks and Zespri, but what are we without a unique and identifiable language? Our flag already insinuates that we are possibly just another state of Australia at best and demonstrably shows our colonial past.

Use it or lose it. This applies to many things in life. Let’s make a point of using this beautiful language as much as we can without giving each other a hard time for getting it wrong.

Let’s not rely on politicians to do it for us.

Kia ora.

Roman Travers is a broadcaster for RadioLIVE.