11 Nov 2014

Ngati Kahungunu works to save dialect

6:49 pm on 11 November 2014

The director of Te Reo Maori for Ngati Kahungunu says the iwi's dialect is almost extinct, with only about 3 percent of whanau using it.

Jeremy Tatere McLeod said the iwi is trying to ensure its survival by mining oral history and records for information.

Mr McLeod said when compared with Tuhoe, which still had a huge monopoly of native speakers, it realised if it did not act fast, it was inevitable the dialect would die out.

The major pool of speakers lived in the Wairoa-Nuhaka rohe, he said, but in Heretaunga they had very few Ngati Kahungunu native speakers, while in Central Hawke's Bay they had all but disappeared.

Mr McLeod said in Wairarapa, there were only two or three dialect speakers remaining.

The iwi is introducing as many initiatives as possible to stop its decline, he said.

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