12 Feb 2014

Te Reo strategy should focus on tribal dialects - tribe

6:55 am on 12 February 2014

The country's third largest iwi, Ngati Kahungunu, wants the Government's Maori language strategy to invest in efforts to keep tribal dialects alive.

The Government is consulting the public on its proposals, which includes a goal to support language learning in the home.

Ngati Kahungunu is offering four recommendations, which centre on tribal dialects, or mita.

It suggests the Government should engage with Ngati Kahungunu to work together on ways to preserve the tribe's unique and varied dialects.

The iwi also says because native speakers are dying out, the Crown should provide immediate funding so the tribe can conduct in-depth research to find out and gather stories about the differing tribal dialects.

Some mita may ultimately vanish because of the loss of more and more native speakers without immediate action, he says.