Maori language on 'life support'


A prominent New Zealand historian has warned the Māori language is on "life support" and wants the Government to do more to help keep it alive.

A new book Ka Ngaro Te Reo, by Auckland University of Technology Professor Paul Moon shows the near-death of Te Reo throughout the 19th century and highlights it's still on the verge of becoming extinct today.

"If you compared the language now to a patient you would have to say it is still on life support," says Prof Moon.

"The heart's still beating, the blood's still circulating but without all that apparatus to support it it would be in a very precarious situation."

While Prof Moon told the Paul Henry programme a national effort is needed to get it back on its feet, he warns making it compulsory to learn the language won't work.

"Compulsion never works. If you're relying on that you are saying we are giving up on any other hope that anything else is working," he says.

"It needs to be a coordinated approach and also it needs to be based on a desire to learn the language rather than people being forced into it."