Reassessing Māori regeneration

Bernard Spolsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

62 Scopus citations


After nearly two centuries of contact with Europeans, the Māori language of New Zealand was, by the 1960s, threatened with extinction. Accompanying a movement for ethnic revival, a series of grassroots regeneration efforts that established adult, preschool, and autonomous school immersion programs has over the past two decades increased substantially the number of Māori who know and use their language, but this has not yet led to the reestablishment of natural intergenerational transmission. More recently, responding to growing ethnic pressures, the New Zealand government has adopted a Māori language policy and is starting to implement it. Seen in its widest social, political, and economic context, this process can be understood not as colonial language loss followed by postcolonial reversing language shift activities, but as the continuation of a long process of negotiation of accommodation between autochthonous Māori and European settlers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)553-578
Number of pages26
JournalLanguage in Society
Issue number4
StatePublished - Sep 2003


  • Accommodation
  • Amalgamation
  • Language ideology
  • Language management
  • Language policy
  • Language practice
  • Māori
  • New Zealand
  • Regeneration
  • Revitalization


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