Reg Fowles objects to the teaching or encouragement of the Maori language, telling us we should not ask young people to “live the dreams of their parents.” He’s dead right. The grim colonial dream that New Zealand could become a Britain of the south seas – culturally and linguistically English, where Maori people are invisible and the Maori language and culture is non-existent or relegated to a mere hobby or curiosity – is thankfully of the past.
Today’s children will live their lives far removed from that bland English nightmare. They will grow up in a more complex, exciting and culturally rich country, in the company of many peoples. A knowledge of Te Reo, and an appreciation of their identity, either as tangata whenua, or as their neighbours and friends, will serve them well.