29 Jul 2014

Call for standardised Te Reo in govt documents

6:48 am on 29 July 2014

A leading Maori language researcher says a standardised form of Te Reo needs to be used in government circles to ensure there is no confusion over meaning.

At the recent launch of the language strategy, Te Matawai, Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples said he was concerned that Te Reo could end up sounding like it only came out of a textbook.

But Joe Te Rito, a senior research fellow in Te Reo Maori at the University of Auckland's Maori Centre of Research Excellence, said while it was very important to maintain the different dialects, there was a place for a generic style of Maori.

He said people needed to be completely sure about how a Maori term was being used in government documents.

Mr Te Rito said that the same term may have a slightly different meaning in different Maori dialects, but within a national context, it needs to be interpreted by everyone in the same way.

He said when Maori revert to their tribal dialect and bring it into the national conversation it can cause some confusion.

But he said government documents translated by the Maori Language Commission ensured the language used was easily understood.