News from home / Reo and Culture
Written by:
30 Sep 2016

Our language is embedded in our hearts, and its unique melodic sound is heard throughout the universe.

The health of our reo is reliant on its sustained use in our everyday lives and that will require each and every one of us, making a conscious effort to korero and regularly participate in activities and forums that promote and strengthen to tatau reo.

The quality and quantity of our spoken reo is in decline. If we ignore the reality and consequences of its decline we run the very real risk of the loss and/or dilution of our reo, within the next two generations. That is the dilemma we col­lectively face as Ngati Porou, and that is why we need to commit to a call to action NOW, because tomorrow will be too late.

Ngati Porou have been at the forefront of every national Maori language revi­talisation movement in New Zealand. Now we must lead a revitalisation of our own language – te reo o te Naati.

Te Reo Ake o Ngati Porou is a strategy that plots a direction and provides a set of objectives for re-establishing te reo as a living language in Ngati Porou, starting in our homes. This strategy fo­cusses on supporting communities to raise the status and state of the reo, so that it once again becomes our preferred medium of communication in our com­munites and on our marae. Te reo o te Naati is the sum total of the reo o tena hapu o tena hapu me ona kupu, kiwaha, whatauki/whakatauaki, mita ranei. The strategy must ensure that the puna reo o nga hapu o Ngati Porou flourish and prosper.

In order for the unique local lan­guages of Ngati Porou to survive we need a critical mass of speakers. This strategy recognises that every Naati, where ever they may be, should have the opportunity to access and participate in language activities. In many ways this strategy provides a rallying point for us to fulfil what Ngati Porou argued before the Waitangi Tribunal in the historical Wai262 claim –

“Ko te reo o Ngati Porou he taonga tuku iho, na o matou matua tipuna. Ma Ngati Porou ano i whakaora aia i to tatau reo.”

We call on all Ngati Porou to support this mission.

  • Last year Toitu Ngati Porou, the cultural development arm of Te Runanganui o Ngati Porou, committed $500,000 to front-load investment in Ngati Porou language acquisition, promotion and inter-generational transmission. To read about this announcement click here. 

  • To download a copy of the Ngati Porou Reo Strategy document click here.