Part 1: Introduction

Implementing the Māori Language Strategy.

In this Part, we describe:

  • the Māori Language Strategy (the Strategy) and the lead agencies responsible for its implementation;
  • why we did the audit;
  • the scope of the audit;
  • our expectations; and
  • how we conducted the audit.

The Māori Language Strategy

The Strategy was produced jointly by Te Puni Kōkiri - the Ministry of Māori Development (TPK), and Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori (Te Taura Whiri). It was approved by Cabinet in July 2003, and published in October 2003. It is a 25-year strategy for revitalising the Māori language, and is a revision of the first Māori Language Strategy published in 1997. It was created in consultation with stakeholders, including other government agencies and Māori groups. The Strategy is due for review in 2008/09.

The aim of the Strategy is to provide planning and co-ordination for the Government’s Māori language revitalisation activities to ensure that the Government can do "the right activities in the right ways and at the right times".1 The Strategy seeks to provide this planning and co-ordination through:

  • creating a vision and goals for Māori language revitalisation;
  • stating the roles of the Government and of Māori in language revitalisation;
  • designating a lead agency or agencies for each area of government involvement; and
  • assigning responsibility for co-ordination, monitoring, and evaluation to TPK.

The Strategy’s vision is:

He Reo E Kōrerotia Ana, He Reo Ka Ora
A spoken language is a living language.

By 2028, the Māori language will be widely spoken by Māori. In particular, the Māori language will be in common use within Māori whānau, homes and communities. All New Zealanders will appreciate the value of the Māori language to New Zealand society.2

This vision is supported by five goals:

  • strengthening language skills;
  • strengthening language use;
  • strengthening education opportunities;
  • strengthening community leadership; and
  • strengthening recognition of the Māori language.

These goals are listed in full in Appendix 1.

The Strategy identifies 10 areas in which the Government can support Māori language revitalisation (the Strategy refers to each area as a “function”). In addition, there are five areas that are the responsibility of Māori (see Appendix 2).

There are six lead agencies: TPK, Te Taura Whiri, Te Māngai Pāho - the Māori Broadcasting Funding Agency, the Ministry for Culture and Heritage, the Ministry of Education, and the National Library of New Zealand (the National Library). The work of these agencies is described in Appendix 3.

The Strategy assigns lead responsibility for each government area to one or more of these agencies, as shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1
Areas in which the Government can support language revitalisation, and the agency or agencies with lead responsibility for each area

Area in which the Government can support language revitalisation Agency/agencies with lead responsibility
Māori language education Ministry of Education
Māori language broadcasting Te Puni Kōkiri (policy and planning)
Te Māngai Pāho and Māori Television Service* (implementation)
Māori language arts Ministry for Culture and Heritage
Māori language services Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori
Māori language archives The National Library of New Zealand
Māori language community planning Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori
Māori language policy, co-ordination, and monitoring Te Puni Kōkiri
Public services provided in Māori Te Puni Kōkiri and Te Taura Whiri i Te Reo Māori
Māori language information programme** Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori
Whānau language development** Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori

* We did not involve the Māori Television Service in this audit because it is not involved in Strategy planning.

** Before the 2003 Strategy was published, the Government was already carrying out work in eight of the 10 areas identified in the Strategy. In October 2003, Cabinet agreed to include activities in two additional areas - an information programme, and assistance with whānau language development.

What does the Māori Language Strategy ask lead agencies to do?

The Strategy requires the lead agencies to draw up five-year plans for each of their areas of responsibility. The purpose of each plan is to ensure co-ordination and progress within the lead agency’s area or areas of responsibility by:

  • describing the agency’s area of responsibility, including a description of the stakeholders in that area;
  • describing how the agency intends to lead that area;
  • identifying five-year outcomes that contribute to the 25-year goals of the Strategy, and the activities throughout the sector that will produce those outcomes;
  • describing the activities the agency intends to do to support Māori language revitalisation; and
  • describing ways of measuring progress towards the outcomes, including five-year targets.

Agencies were to create these plans within the wider context of existing departmental planning processes, and to build on existing planning, programmes, and services. Agencies were to identify any fiscal and other issues through their planning processes, and to manage these issues through standard budget, planning, and departmental processes.

TPK is responsible for co-ordinating the lead agencies’ implementation of the Strategy. As part of this responsibility, TPK is to monitor progress towards the 25-year goals at five-year intervals. Also, Cabinet has directed a review of the Strategy in 2008/09 that will focus on various aspects of the Strategy, including outcomes, roles of the Government, and the relationships between Māori and the Government. Furthermore, Cabinet directed TPK to do further research into possible government activities in the areas of whānau language development and an information programme.

Why we did the audit

We carried out a performance audit to see whether TPK and the other lead agencies were implementing the Māori Language Strategy effectively. Our aim was to provide assurance to Parliament that the Government’s Māori language revitalisation efforts were being well co-ordinated and targeted through the implementation of the Strategy.

Scope of the audit

Our audit focused on three questions:

  • Has TPK co-ordinated Strategy work effectively?
  • Have the lead agencies carried out Strategy planning effectively?
  • Is TPK monitoring the outcomes of the Strategy and evaluating the effectiveness of the Government’s Māori language activities?

We did not examine activities the lead agencies might be carrying out to implement their Strategy plans as this was outside the scope of our audit. In general, Strategy planning by lead agencies had not progressed far enough to provide a structure against which to assess progress in each area.

The audit also did not examine:

  • the outcome of revitalisation efforts;
  • the quality of the Strategy or associated policies; or
  • individual projects and initiatives that lead agencies have carried out that might contribute to Māori language revitalisation.

As well as being responsible for the co-ordination, monitoring, and evaluation of the Government’s Māori language-related policies, TPK is also responsible for Māori language policy. We did not audit this aspect of TPK’s work, as commenting on policy is outside the mandate of the Auditor-General.

This report includes two case studies that describe the programmes agencies are implementing in the important areas of whānau language development and community language planning. The case study on whānau language development shows how a new initiative on the part of the Government is being put into practice with whānau throughout the country. The community language planning case study describes how agencies were already working with communities to help them achieve their goals in regard to Māori language before 2003. The case study also shows how, since the Strategy was produced, the agencies have been working closely to provide a more co-ordinated service to the communities they are working with. These case studies are in Appendix 4.

Our expectations

We expected that TPK would be effectively and consistently carrying out its co-ordination, monitoring, and evaluation roles.

We expected that all lead agencies would have completed effective implementation plans within the deadlines in the Strategy. The components of an effective Strategy implementation plan are described in paragraph 1.10.

How we conducted the audit

To see whether TPK had co-ordinated Strategy work effectively, the lead agencies had carried out Strategy planning effectively, and TPK was monitoring Strategy outcomes and evaluating the effectiveness of the Government’s Māori language activities, we looked at:

  • the agencies’ Strategy implementation plans provided to us by TPK in September 2006;
  • any updates to those plans;
  • other planning instruments used by lead agencies to fulfil Strategy planning requirements (for example, the Statement of Intent, internal reporting and monitoring systems including reporting to the Minister or Cabinet, or policy documents about interactions with Māori clients); and
  • other documentation, such as minutes of meetings, supplied to us by the agencies concerned.

In addition, we asked agencies to tell us what progress they had made in creating and implementing their Strategy plans.

1: Te Puni Kōkiri and Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori (2003), Te Rautaki Reo Māori - The Māori Language Strategy, the Ministry of Māori Development, Wellington, page 3.

2: Te Puni Kōkiri and Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori (2003), Te Rautaki Reo Māori - The Māori Language Strategy, the Ministry of Māori Development, Wellington, page 5.

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