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.