Child and youth voice research findings

Te reo o te rangatahi: An explorative study of rangatahi exposure to, and use of, te reo Māori

AUTHOR: New Zealand Council for Educational Research (NZCER)

This 2020 mixed-methods research involved a range of ethnographic data-collection methods. The research involved 19 rangatahi in 13 locations across four iwi regions.

Key themes identified in this research included:

  • There are multiple factors that motivate rangatahi to use te reo Māori, some of which are deeply rooted in internalised belief systems, values and whakapapa.
  • there are many ways of nudging rangatahi into or out of using te reo Māori in both public (kanohi ki te kanohi and online) and private spaces
  • In public contexts, it's important  to have te reo Māori as an integral and valued part of the kaupapa. Reo Māori use was supported visually by Māori writing and imagery, and by seeing and hearing people who had committed to speaking te reo Māori.
  • In private contexts, whānau attitudes and support for te reo Māori and participation in immersion education can have a big impact.
  • While codeswitching between languages in everyday life is natural for bilinguals, at the same time, it can be consciously (and usefully) limited in order to create immersion learning environments
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