New Land, New Opportunities, New Language: Māori Television and Migrants Learning Te Reo


  • Susan Nemec The University of Auckland



Te reo Māori is one of the official languages of New Zealand. Many migrants from non-English speaking nations, however, are surprised at the monolingualism of New Zealand and the apparent tokenism in use of te reo. Often migrants arrive ready to acquire a level of te reo Māori because of their own multilingual background. This paper explores the extent to which Māori Television provides cultural resources for migrants to increase te reo skills and vocabulary and to engender an interest for further engagement with te reo Māori, and suggests that engaging in learning te reo contributes to Māori Television’s language revitalisation outcomes. Improved understanding of the distinctive use of te reo Māori within the everyday lexicon of New Zealand English contributed to a sense of belonging for many of the participants.  All of these findings suggest the level of support migrants can offer Māori language revitalisation initiatives may be unrecognised.

Author Biography

Susan Nemec, The University of Auckland

PhD student, Film, Television and Media Studies