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Marketing the M ori Language Rangi Nicholson He kororia ki te Atua i runga rawa He maunga a rongo ki runga i te mata o te whenua He whakaaro pai ki nga tangata katoa E nga iwi e nga reo e nga mana tena koutou tena koutou tena koutou katoa Glory to God on high Peace on earth Goodwill to all people To the tribal representatives voices of the people and distinguished persons greetings While the New Zealand Government is currently spending millions of dollars to teach the M ori language in preschool language nests M ori total immersion primary schools and elsewhere its language policies are not likely to succeed because it has failed to promoted M ori among M ori and non M ori to the extent that the language has a sufficiently good image The results of a market research study and the promotion of the 1995 M ori Language Year indicate that the passive tolerance of the M ori language by New Zealanders in contemporary New Zealand society will allow a more active and explicit promotion of the M ori language M ori today account for about 13 of the population in New Zealand The M ori language has been a minority language for over 130 years Prior to World War II the M ori language was the first language of M ori who largely lived in rural areas After 1945 large scale urban migration occurred that led to a breakdown in the transmitting of M ori from one generation to another M ori children began to be raised as monolingual speakers of English Chrisp 1997 p 101 This is very significant because at this time about 60 of the Maori population was under the age of 20 In a linguistic survey completed in the 1970s it was clear that less than 20 of M ori could speak the M ori language Despite intensive M ori language revitalization efforts in the 1970s and 1980s including the kohanga reo or preschool language nests and language radio stations the latest M ori Language Commission survey conducted in 1995 shows that the number of fluent adult M ori speakers appears to have decreased considerably to about 10 000 Social changes in New Zealand s history reflected in urbanization television industrialization and intercultural marriages have all 206 Teaching Indigenous Languages contributed to the M ori language not being spoken in homes Waitangi Tribunal Report 1986 p 16 The low social status of the language in the eyes of its speakers Crowley 1984 and the general New Zealand community has also been a factor In the 1990s M ori still remains an endangered language Arguably successful M ori language revitalization will depend at least in part on the attitudes and commitment of M ori speakers as a whole to maintaining and revitalizing the language in the home in the neighborhood in the community and beyond There is a real need to market the language to lift its social status and to encourage a higher level of commitment from the largely elderly group of native speakers and younger second language learners as well as the general population Nicholson Garland 1991 p 395 Marketing paradigm Cooper 1985 outlines how language can be viewed as a product and combined with the appropriate promotion to the correct target audience along with appropriate distribution and price costs in personal energy potential ridicule from family and friends and so forth Language can be planned in a marketing framework to enhance its status Like any product or service its enhancement can be planned and the first step in marketing a language in this case the M ori language is the so called situation analysis Stated more simply a situation analysis is a review of the current status and circumstances for a product or service For the M ori language this will involve answering questions such as how many New Zealanders speak the language fluently how many understand it who are these people where do they live where when and with whom do they use the M ori language and so forth But equally important is to ascertain New Zealanders attitudes to the M ori language and its usage for only when the magnitude of public support or public opposition to the advancement of the M ori language is known can the M ori Language Commission and other Maori language planning agencies including tribal agencies correctly formulate their marketing strategies for revitalizing the language Like all marketers language planners must recognize identify or design products which the potential consumer will find attractive Cooper 1989 p 73 Given the situation analysis of M ori language to date there does not appear as yet to be M ori language products that M ori are finding sufficiently attractive to buy that will change the language s endangered status Grin 1990 believes that the first goal of language policy should be to improve considerably the image of a minority language the minority language needs to have a sufficiently good image Any language policy that provides money but avoids sincere commitment to boosting the image of the language is therefore likely to fail There seems to be no way around this for a minority language to survive its image must be positive Grin 1990 p 71 207 Teaching Indigenous Languages It can be argued that while the New Zealand Government is currently spending millions of dollars on kohanga reo preschool language nests kura kaupapa M ori total immersion primary schools as well as other initiatives its language policies are not likely to succeed because it has not promoted M ori among M ori and non M ori to the extent that the language has a sufficiently good image The Welsh Language Board has recognized the importance of good public relations and effective marketing namely marrying the Board s strategy with the wishes and activities of most of the Welsh populace Welsh Language Board 1989 p 2 A marketing program is seen as an indispensable part of any strategy for the future of the Welsh language It is also an indispensable part of any strategy for the Maori language Market research study This section draws heavily on an article written by the author and Ron Garland entitled New Zealanders Attitudes to the Revitalization of the M ori Language Nicholson Garland 1991 In 1990 a nationwide mail survey of 225 New Zealand adults opinions was held about the M ori language s role in contemporary society and the extent to which New Zealanders will commit themselves to fostering the language Two specific research objectives were as follows to ascertain the extent to which M ori is spoken and understood by New Zealand adults and thereby confirm or

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