9 Apr 2014

Tribes can protect language - Blair

6:31 am on 9 April 2014

A Ngati Whatua member is adamant tribes are more than capable of protecting Te Reo Maori and encouraging the language to thrive in homes, despite some politicians suggesting iwi are not ready.

The Maori Party wants to put through a bill which suggests setting up an umbrella group, Te Mataawai, which Te Reo agencies such as Te Mangai Paaho and Te Taura Whiri i Te Reo Maori would come under.

Ngapuhi and Ngati Whatua are supportive of the idea of the language being driven by tangata whenua.

Ngati Whatua descendant Ngarimu Blair said it was surprising MPs from Mana, Labour and the Green parties were supporting the notion of government retaining control.

He said he could understand there was some anxiety around iwi governance structures but that tribes had come a long way in the past 10 years, with improving governance and settling treaty claims.

Some iwi already had delivery arms to reach homes of whanau that wanted to take up the language, and it was important tangata whenua backed themselves.

Meanwhile, Maori language advocacy group Umere believes the Government should delay plans for Te Reo until problems within the Kohanga Reo National Trust are resolved.

Minister of Education Hekia Parata has asked the Serious Fraud Office to investigate the movement's subsidiary arm, Te Pataka Ohanga, following allegations of financial mis-management.

Umere spokesperson Maraea Hunia said she believe Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples should be fixing that problem before "messing around" with Maori language agencies.