English Not an Official Language in NZ Legislation

Did you know that New Zealand has two official languages and English is not one of them? The two official languages are Sign Language – made official in 2006, and the Maori Language in 1987.

MP Simon Bridges confirmed that there is no law that enshrines English as a NZ official language. To correct this, he suggested a petition saying that he will present such a petition to Parliament. The wording has been approved by the Clerk of the House. English is our common language and we must ensure it becomes an official language of our country.

Each petition sheet is quite easy to fill in, for family, friends, neighbours, workmates etc. So far, very few people have declined to sign it. If you have a business, (or know of one you could ask), it could go on the counter. Your local RSA is likely a good option.

The Petition was launched in Tauranga and it will be running for a few more months. Contact the petitioner (Robin) on 27-2331595, or by e-mail or download/print petition forms from here  – use the printer icon to print. Once a petition page is full of signatures, the address to post it to is on the bottom of the form.

– Robin Bishop (abridged)

10 thoughts on “English Not An Official NZ Language

    1. Bert, what do you assume to be indigenous? Is it the first inhabitants of a region or those arrive later and supplant the first arrivals? What proof have you that maori were not the first to arrive here?

      1. There is lots of archaeological evidence that there were at least 3 and up to 5 distinct peoples here before maori arrived and on a good day maori people admit to this. Some of these races were white but not warrior people and that’s why they were eliminated by maori.
        They were more advanced then stone age and were here before the last eruption of Taupo maybe as early as 250BC.
        One glaring example is the kilometres of old drainage canals around Dargaville that predate maori and maori did not have the tools To undertake such excavations.
        There was also an archeological dig done at Atiamuri, South Waikato in the 50s that was studied before the hydro lake was filled that pre-dated maori (you can google this) For some reason the site was bulldozed after and the information gathered is hidden under The Official Secrets Act

        1. Hi Bert, much appreciate your information. I have no problem accepting that preMaori contact and settlement is logically possible and indeed likely. What is needed is a sustained effort to bring evidence into the public domain. Surely some solid documentation is out there somewhere. It should also be an international scandal if any information is suppressed. Unfortunately you can expect no help from any archaeologist trained in NZ. There is an unwritten rule that any material produced should NOT be in conflict with vested interests for Treaty claims. Even under the Resource Management Act, archaeology is being used, at the cost of landowners, to limit legitimate land use. Local Government is forcing landowners to hire archaeologist to examine and monitor works where archaeological remains are impossible. Some archaeologists are doing rather well out of this practice. The landowner is not allowed to chose an archaeologist other than the one selected by Councils and the Iwi.

          1. There is a good book that has a lot of information called To the ends of the Earth. It has 3 authors one a Kiwi (Hillerman) but you have to order it on line as bookstores won’t stock it.
            When this book came out Academics from the NZ universities reckoned it was a fabrication but the book had a good reference of where the information came from

      2. Bert, this article has nothing to do with Maori being indigenous. It’s just like the rest of the world says about kiwis – “Ignorant kiwis always try divert attention toward Maoris.”

  1. What evidence do we have for the above article being true. It sounds like an April fools joke, but in the wrong month. The argument lacks verifiability.

    1. Yeah. Taking an MP’s word for it is rather risky!
      Not sure what’s to be gained by mendacity, though.

      There is a Maori Language Act
      http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/1987/0176/latest/DLM124116.html

      And there is a New Zealand Sign Language Act
      http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/2006/0018/latest/DLM372754.html

      But no sign of an English Language Act
      http://www.legislation.govt.nz/

      However, in the Citizenship Amendment Bill – Explanatory Note – Part 1 – Amendments to principal Act
      (http://www.legislation.govt.nz/bill/government/2010/0226/latest/DLM3323406.html?search=sw_096be8ed8087ea12_official_25_se&p=1#DLM3323403)
      is this statement:
      “The official languages of New Zealand are English, te reo Māori, and New Zealand Sign Language.” The Bill’s intention may be to remove the
      requirement to demonstrate proficiency in English (only) as one criterion.

      Note that’s a Bill, not an Act and there’s no reference given to the source of the assertion that English is an NZ Official Language.

      1. Aye, it would be unfair to be too hard on the fellow, however, the citation you have added with links as sources is quite enlightening, makes the original article stronger. The Government seems to have a habit in assuming something is official, when it is not, much like John Key ignoring the fact that Hawaii has the Union Flag as part of it’s state flag. Key must not have noticed that the last time he visited Hawaii.

  2. I would suggest that readers have a look at the NZ Herald
    article about cultural overlays in the Paritai Drive area in Auckland
    . Note that the iwi spokes person states that there is nothing to worry about. This may seem to be reassuring at the moment but elsewhere in the country similar overlays sit dormant until the iwi board changes and a new member wants to exert some influence over the residents. These overlays are undemocratic whether dormant or vigorously applied. It is racist no matter what guise it is in and has little to do with heritage. It might work if administered as a community committee but not a race based one.

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