Alf has slipped a note to the top spook at the Government Communications Security Bureau with a suggestion they keep tabs on anyone promoting te reo Maori.
He suspects these promoters – or some of them, at least – are part of a fiendish plot to help build a stronger Australian work force by encouraging our very special people to go there to settle.
Maori Language Commissioner Glenis Philip-Barbara has got to be among the suspects.
She is not pleading with our special people not to cross the Tasman.
To the contrary, she has been praising Maori migrants in Australia for retaining their use of te reo and their traditional customs.
Moreover, she is commending them for crossing the Tasman to earn good money and feed their whanau, implying this can’t be done if they stay here.
Radio NZ reports today that the pull of better money and jobs in Australia means New Zealand is losing a significant number of fluent Maori language speakers – including teachers of te reo.
The latest Australian census in 2011 shows the number of Maori language speakers there has risen by 53% since 2006.
We learned not so long ago the findings of Victoria University research showing the number of Maori living in Australia has jumped 38 per cent in the past five years to 128,000.
This exceeds the already high overall rise in New Zealanders living in Australia, with about a quarter of Kiwi arrivals identifying themselves as Maori.
Victoria University migration researcher Paul Hamer, who wrote the report, said figures were based on the 2006 census, and the actual population could be as high as 160,000 or about one in five of all Maori.
Census data from last year shows about 28,000 Maori lived in Brisbane, 3000 more than lived in Hamilton in 2006. Throw in the Gold Coast, and Mr Hamer said there were probably more Maori in south Queensland than in Christchurch.
“Brisbane . . . is possibly the fourth largest urban concentration of Maori in the world.”
Moving seemed to be motivated by the lure of higher wages there, and economic hardship in New Zealand, he said.
But only today – in the aforementioned Radio NZ report – have we learned that some Maori people regard this emigration as a good thing.
Maori Language Commissioner Glenis Philip-Barbara is praising Maori migrants in Australia for retaining their use of te reo and their traditional customs.
She says the work that Maori families are doing in Australia to hold on to their language is of huge significance to Aotearoa as a whole – to every iwi and to every community where they come from.
Ms Philip-Barbara says if they can continue this work across the Tasman while earning good money and feeding their whanau – then all power to them.
She is not alone.
A Ngati Porou church leader based in Western Australia, the Reverend Kaua Tuhura, says local government authorities and the Anglican Church have been very accommodating to the needs of Maori language speakers.
Mind you, at this point Alf confesses to having second thoughts about this brain drain.
His initial thoughts had been of dismay that we are losing our special people in droves.
But whoa. Look on the bright side.
If all of our special people were to cross the Tasman to settle in Australia, obviously we would have no more need for the Treaty. And we could dismantle all those co-governance arrangements that are a blight on our democracy. And there would be no more need for the Maori seats.
Maybe we could have women’s electorates in their place, and all our womenfolk could opt to enroll on the general roll or on the women’s roll.
Waddya think constituents?