This article is written as a provocation. By re-examining the practice of discouraging children from speaking te reo Māori in schools, we challenge our students and other researchers to be alert to the ways in which Māori are often positioned in critical research. Many otherwise radical accounts that focus on Māori assimilation into a Western social order unwittingly take a coloniser-centric approach, inevitably representing Māori as passive non-agents.
Although commerce is often considered to be a primarily Western activity, Māori were, and are, just as engaged in it as anyone else and are internationally recognised today for their business entrepreneurship. Trade and exchange was a common feature in the early history of Māori, both before and after Pākehā contact, as it was one of the main reasons for interaction. The language used in these interactions offers an insight into Māori commercial and economic adaptability and provides a template for how te reo Māori can further develop to support a Kaupapa Māori way of conducting business.
This article explores some of the infl uences shaping early childhood Māori language education in Aotearoa New Zealand. By drawing on Garcia’s socio- historical stages of language orientation it parallels Māori language socio- historical developments and the linguistic conditions within which Māori language regeneration efforts reside. Also drawing on Waitangi Tribunal fi ndings these are juxtaposed as developments in Māori language education.