AUCKLAND, July 6 - It comes after a New Zealand Council for Educational Research study found Christchurch, Taranaki and west and South Auckland kids were again using the language more often at home and in whanau places.

This contrasts to a 1970s study that found Te Reo was dying out because it was largely not being passed on between family generations.

Te Taura Whiri i te reo Maori, the Maori Language Commission, ordered the study and chief executive Ngahiwi Apanui says it's like seeing green shoots appear in a burnt-off landscape. 

"Maori language is alive and is bursting through into new domains," he said.

To nurture further growth, the study called for Te Reo to become a core subject for year one students in 2020 with all students up to level 13 to study it as a core subject by 2037.

It also proposed greater use of Maori in public signage and incentives to create Maori language domains.

Barriers to the greater use of Te Reo included having no one to talk to, limited skill in the language, shyness or lack of confidence and the expectation by other people that English should be used instead, the study found.

"As more people pass on, learn and use te reo Maori in more areas of life, more initiatives for revitalisation will appear. Our green shoots will become a forest," Apanui said.

New Zealand Educational Institute president Lynda Stuart backed the proposal because teachers needed time to gain enough confidence and skill to teach the language effectively.

"This proposal is a good move and a strong plan that can be implemented effectively over time as teachers are supported to increase their Te Reo proficiency," she said.