22 May 2013

Gradual increase in South Island te reo use

9:14 am on 22 May 2013

A Ngai Tahu Maori language promoter says there are more te reo speakers in the South Island compared to a decade ago, when the number of whanau who spoke the language could be counted on just one hand.

In 2000 the iwi launched a strategy - Kotahi Mano Kaika, Kotahi Mano Wawata - which aimed to have 1000 Ngai Tahu homes speaking the language.

The Kotahi Mano Kaika programme co-ordinator, Paulette Tamati-Elliffe, says 10 years ago the language was in dire straits.

She says a decade ago there were fewer than five whanau in Te Wai Pounamu who were raising their tamariki in te reo.

Ms Tamati-Elliffe says every year a Ngai Tahu Kura Reo aimed at families is held in January, and more than 130 people now attend.

She says the Ngai Tahu Runanga estimates that about 30 families are now using Te Reo Maori at home, and now the future is looking brighter.