THE SIGNIFICANCE OF BILINGUAL EDUCATION IN THE REVITALIZATION OF THE MAORI LANGUAGE
The article considers the significance of bilingual education in the revitalization of the indigenous language in New Zealand. New Zealand has three national languages: English, Maori, and the New Zealand Sign Language, with English being the most commonly used. Maori make up approximately 15 percent of the population. Maori is one of the well-known endangered languages. Since 1987, Maori has been legislated as an official language. It is worth noting that there have been a lot of initiatives to revitalize and encourage the Maori language. An important development for the preservation of the Maori language has been an initiative aimed at very young children. We have highlighted the importance of Maori language immersion primary schools (Kura Kaupapa Maori) and secondary schools (Wharekura). Te Kohanga Reo (language nests) was the first Maori language school where Maori grandparents passed on their language and customs to their grandchildren. It has since developed to all levels of education and has been incorporated into the state education system. The first bilingual Maori programs were created either entirely independently of the New Zealand Ministry of Education (Kura Kaupapa Maori), or as a part of the current education legislation within the core English programs (immersion programs and bilingual programs). It needs to be noted that the immersion program has some advantages over other programs, as it can create a favourable environment for teaching Maori children. The most effective bilingual schools are also those with the highest level of immersion. The authors come to the conclusion that in the past decade there has been a steady increase in the percentage of Maori at all levels of education, and at the same time there has been a renaissance in the teaching and learning of the Maori language and culture, partly through increasing numbers of bilingual classes in primary and secondary schools.