Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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Planning for Tolerability: Promoting Positive Attitudes and Behaviours Towards the Maori Language Among Non-Maori New Zealanders

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posted on 2021-11-08, 05:16 authored by De Bres, Julia

This thesis investigates the effectiveness of promoting positive attitudes and behaviours towards the Maori language among non-Maori New Zealanders as a contributing factor in Maori language regeneration. It begins by examining the theoretical rationale for focusing on the attitudes and behaviours of majority language speakers in minority language regeneration. Although the impact of majority language speakers on minority languages is clear, theoretical perspectives differ on whether majority language speakers should be a focus of language regeneration planning. Competing approaches are discussed,and a process model is introduced for 'planning for tolerability' - minority language planning targeting the attitudes and behaviours of majority language speakers. This model posits five essential components: recognising the problem; defining the target audience of majority language speakers; developing messages and desired behaviours; selecting policy techniques; and evaluating success. After reviewing existing research on the attitudes of non-Maori New Zealanders towards the Maori language and introducing the participants to the current research, the New Zealand government's approach to planning for the tolerability of the Maori language is examined. The Government has recognised the importance of non-Maori in Maori language regeneration since the beginning of the development of the Maori Language Strategy in the mid 1990s. The extent to which the Government considers non-Maori as an important audience for Maori language planning in practice, however, appears to fluctuate. Possible reasons for this are discussed. The main focus of Maori language policy towards non-Maori has been promotional campaigns. The discursive approach taken in a selection of these campaigns is analysed, showing that promotional materials aimed at non-Maori New Zealanders (including television ads, phrase booklets, and a website) transmit a wide range of messages about the Maori language, relating to both attitudes and 'desired behaviours'. Such messages are conveyed through a range of discursive techniques, using both a ' reason' and a 'tickle' approach. An analysis is also presented of data collected from eighty non-Maori New Zealanders at nine white-collar workplaces in Wellington, using questionnaires and interviews. The analysis centres on the attitudes of the participants towards the Maori language, their responses to current and recent promotional materials, and the role they see for themselves in supporting Maori language regeneration. Language policy approaches targeting majority language speakers in two international minority language situations, Wales and Catalonia, are then examined, and comparisons made to the New Zealand approach. The analysis concludes that the three approaches to planning for tolerability each exhibit some unique features, relating to all five components of planning for tolerability. Possible reasons for the distinct approaches are discussed. Finally, the results of the analysis of New Zealand government policy, the data collection process and the international comparisons are drawn together in order to consider the future of planning for tolerability in New Zealand.


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Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

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Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

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Doctor of Philosophy

Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Doctoral Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

School of Linguistics and Applied Language Studies


Holmes, Janet; Macalister, John