Otago has very low numbers of Māori language speakers – French is the most widely spoken second language in the region. Given this context, it is important that any interventions aimed at revitalising and maintaining the Māori language are evidence-based. There is ample research on second language acquisition but little that shows the actual as opposed to self-reported experience of the second language learner as transmitter of this language within the home.
The research team for this project in collaboration with Ngāi Tūhoe have sought to actively engage tanagata whenua with all agencies that support building capability in management of wild populations of Whio (Blue Duck). Whio is one of New Zealand’s national iconic wildlife species. Their presence within our rivers symbolises the completeness and health of our waterways. Whio are currently nationally threatened by predation from introduced predators, loss of habitat, and global climate change; they are not fully secured from extinction.
First a public servant in the Native Lands Purchase Department then later MP for Napier and Minister for Native Affairs, Sir Donald McLean (Makarini) was a major architect in the most formative period of our colonial history (c.1850–1880). His fluency in te reo Māori and his willingness to visit Māori in their own communities gained the respect of many rangatira of that time.