1 Mar 2012

University project creates cluster of Maori speakers

8:13 am on 1 March 2012

The University of Otago says a project supporting people to have conversations in the Maori language has created a community of te reo speakers.

He Iho Reo is working with 10 local whanau.

Dunedin and Otago have some of the lowest rates of Maori language use in Aotearoa.

To assess how the families are using the language, researchers have placed audio recorders in the homes of whanau, so they can record themselves speaking te reo during their everyday activities.

University of Otago senior research analyst Katharina Ruckstuhl says all academics involved in the project are passionate about keeping the Maori language alive.

She says the researchers don't want to see the beautiful language decline any further.

Dr Ruckstuhl says the idea is for the whanau to take up, maintain and then transfer their reo to a new generation.

She says some whanau taking part in the project have limited language but are willing learners.

Dr Ruckstuhl says taking the project out of the institution and into the home is one of the most important factors.