Is English enough in the Asian Century?

1 September 2013

New Zealand is one of the world’s super-diverse countries, with more than 160 languages spoken. Research clearly shows that there are significant benefits to the brain in being bilingual or multilingual. Yet most Kiwis can hold a conversation in only one language – and overwhelmingly, that language is English. 

Meanwhile, countries from Australia to Sweden are reassessing their approach to language education as global attention shifts to Asia. But here in New Zealand, European languages continue to dominate in our schools. And how do efforts to boost the availability of different languages impact on te reo Māori?

Led by broadcaster Chris Laidlaw, a panel of language and education experts will discuss these issues and more.  Join us for the chance to contribute your own thoughts. 

When: Thursday 19 September 2013

Time: 5.30pm – 7pm, with refreshments to follow

Venue: Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts (Te Whare Tapere Iti), Gate 2B, Knighton Road, University of Waikato, Hamilton

Facilitator: Chris Laidlaw, host of Radio New Zealand National’s Sunday Morning, columnist, author, regional councillor, sports commentator, and a former Rhodes Scholar, Ambassador, All Black and MP.

Panellists

  • Stephen May, Deputy Dean of Research, Faculty of Education and Professor, Te Puna Wānanga, School of Maori Education, University of Auckland
  • Jeff Johnstone, Director of Education, Asia New Zealand Foundation 
  • Laytee George, Educational Relationships Co-ordinator – Schools, Waiariki Institute of Technology, Rotorua 
  • Kurt Mullane, Director, Asia Education Foundation (AEF), The Asialink Centre, University of Melbourne, Australia
  • William Flavell, Head of Māori Studies at Rutherford College, Auckland
  • Ian Meadows, Business Development Manager, Gallagher, Hamilton

Language learning statistics 

Source: July 2012 school roll returns, Ministry of Education. Contact Rebecca Palmer to get full Waikato statistics. Full national statistics are available here

Waikato secondary schools 2012 - total student numbers, years 9-13

  • Te reo Māori and Te reo Rangatira - 2872
  • French – 1539
  • Spanish - 1074
  • Japanese - 826
  • German – 341
  • Cook Island Māori - 61
  • Chinese - 23

New Zealand secondary schools 2012 - total student numbers, years 9-13

  • Te reo Māori and Te reo Rangatira – 24,087
  • French - 22,379
  • Japanese - 12,473
  • Spanish - 11,372
  • German - 4,663
  • Chinese - 2,849
  • Cook Island Māori - 335

Waikato primary schools 2012  - total student numbers (ranges from up to 15 hours annually, to more than 30 hours)

  • French - 2770   
  • Spanish - 1587       
  • Japanese – 817
  • German - 773    
  • Chinese – 626
  • Sign language - 79
  • Cook Island Māori - 75
  • Korean – 63
  • Samoan - 7

*** Note: Primary language learning data does not include te reo Māori 

New Zealand primary schools 2012 - total student numbers (ranges from up to 15 hours annually, to more than 30 hours)

  • French - 31,554       
  • Spanish - 24,319       
  • Japanese - 19,296
  • Chinese - 13,161
  • German - 10,283
  • Samoan - 2466
  • Sign language - 2154 
  • Cook Island Māori - 310                
  • Korean - 170

*** Note: Primary language learning data does not include te reo Māori