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No. 67 (July 1969)
– 49 –

A National Asset

It may be argued that the Maori people, as the largest existing Polynesian group, are entitled to some recognition of their language and culture as a matter of good manners. It may even be suggested by sentimentalists that what the Maori has, is worth ‘preserving’ for its beauty and interest, but the European New Zealander has demonstrated pretty conclusively that he is unlikely to be impressed by any such pious pleas.

The case for the Maori langauge must be that it is a national asset. It will adorn and enrich our nation, and link us more closely with our Pacific neighbours. Lastly there is the cold and disquieting fact that the Maori does not feel at ease among Europeans. In a negative sense he is compelled to remain aloof in order to preserve some vestige of cultural identity, and as education, employment, residential and crime statistics show, he is manifesting all the signs of a withdrawn and therefore deprived minority, of increasing size. Such minority groups are proving expensive in many countries. It would be cheaper, and even perhaps more interesting, to learn his language and thereby make his acquaintance while there is still a little time.