31 Mar 2015

Ngati Toa sets Te Reo goals

10:09 am on 31 March 2015

The lower North Island tribe, Ngāti Toa, wants all of its members to be speaking or learning Te Reo Maori in four years' time.

Tuku Parai, Chair of Ngati Toa

Tuku Parai, Chair of Ngati Toa Photo: RNZ / Gareth Thomas

And, in about 25 years, it aims for the language to be used in at least half of all tribal homes.

The iwi has developed a strategy to help people learn Te Reo at home and integrate it into their daily lives.

Ngati Toa chair Taku Parai said the plan would lead to members being more culturally active and bring them closer to the tribe.

"What we want to achieve through our language strategy is to have our people, particularly our young people, come through being confident in their language - this wonderful taonga handed down by our tūpuna."

"By focussing on this part of the strategy it allows our people to be more active in the customs and traditions of our people," he said.

In a tribal pānui (newsletter) to its people, the iwi outlined its key reasons for pushing the plan.

"The priority is on supporting home and community Te Reo Māori language development.

"The Strategy is to work with those who are willing and to embed te reo Māori into activities already in operation," he said.

"This involves identifying whānau who are willing to commit to this kaupapa by fostering the use of te reo Māori within the home, and those with Māori language proficiency to support whānau with learning and integrating te reo into daily life."

Mr Parai said compared to other iwi, the number of its native speakers was not too bad.

According to the 2013 Census, 26 percent of Ngati Toa descendants could hold a conversation about everyday things in Te Reo Māori, well above the national rate over just over 18 percent.

Statistics for the iwi showed a high proportion of the speakers were under 15 years of age.