Make English an Official Language of New Zealand

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Make English an Official Language of New Zealand

Most New Zealanders cannot believe that English is not currently an official legal language of New Zealand. In fact, Maori and Sign Language are the only official languages in this country.

It is essential that the language spoken by 96% of the people is recognised as an official language for use in all official papers and general communication.

The use of English gives International advantages in terms of trade, tourism, economic activity, education and communication on the world stage.

As a non-official language, English is losing much of its status. All Council papers and most government communications are now frequently headed in Maori then with an  English translation or none at all! 

We call on all New Zealanders to ensure that English takes it place alongside Maori and Sign Language as an official language in this country

Background: NZ has long been known as the place where the purest English is spoken outside Great Britain. This gives NZ huge advantages.

While Bilingualism is commendable and the ability to speak both languages advantageous, currently Maori words and phrases are being inserted untranslated indiscriminately in English sentences and contexts- letters with Nga mihi at the end, Newspapers inserting Maori words  untranslated, TV announcements and greetings solely in Maori, bank advertisements “For you Tamariki” and even government papers are using a mishmash of Maori words untranslated e.g. "Maunga" in amongst the English with assumptions everyone knows the meaning. This is aggravated by the fact many so called Maori words are transliterations of  the original English. In time this will lead NZ to have an incomprehensible mixed language -a Pidgin  English (linguistic definition)  to NZ’s detriment unless English has full legal recognition in this country.

Examples found: 

"so much valuable korero and knowledge shared about taonga and caring for their mauri. Many of these taonga are of the whenua, which must be seen as a taonga for the life support it gives us"

"To help recognise the mahi you have put in we are sending you the first issue" 

Did you know?: Students in NZQA examinations can answer every written examination in Maori currently, even a French or Chinese examination, if they wish, Maori being the only official written language. A similar situation arises in Court where people can use Māori or  New Zealand Sign Language in any legal proceedings regardless of whether the Judges or Jury understand it so an interpreter is called to translate.

The issue is of such concern that a Bill was lodged last year by MP Clayton Mitchell “English an Official Language of New Zealand Bill”   which still needs to be drawn in the ballot

Please sign this petition and get English recognised as an Official Language  of New Zealand