Maori Party co-leader Te Ururoa Flavell’s five children grew up in a Maori-speaking household.
But now the kids have left home the Maori Development Minister often finds himself talking to wife Erana Hond-Flavell in English – particularly after arriving home from a stint at Parliament.
“When I come back from Wellington it’s my wife’s view that I stay too easily in English,” Flavell said. “And it was her challenge that we need to be a bit stronger in trying to maintain a Maori-speaking environment.”
Flavell and Erana have now taken a New Year’s resolution to talk to each other only in Maori for a year. He said he would also try to avoid English when speaking with other te reo speakers.
“There are a lot of people around, some in my office, who I deal with on a day-to-day basis where we should be conversing in Maori,” Flavell said.
“The challenge is for me to try and stay with Maori language as much as possible, understanding of course that in the Parliamentary environment it’s not always easy to do that.
“I’m Minister for Maori Development, and I wanted to take a lead role to promote the speaking of the Maori language as much as possible.”
I believe communication is about communicating, not about virtue signalling. Flavell has it right. He’ll speak Maori to other Te Reo speakers. But I hope that it doesn’t turn into the pointless tokenism on display by others, notably Metiria Turei. If you want to learn Te Reo, go for it. But reading it off a page phonetically is nothing more than grandstanding.
– NZ Herald