Indigenous | Chatham Islands

Exciting effort underway to revitalise Moriori language

Tamarau-Ariki Solomon says Moriori are developing an app to help revitalise their language.  Photo/File. 

An exciting initiative is underway to revitalise Moriori language and culture, a young Moriori descendant says.

Tamarau-Ariki Solomon, who has Moriori and Kāi Tahu whakapapa, told Te Ao with Moana that an app is being developed to help revitalise Moriori 're' (reo).

"There's a pretty exciting kaupapa going on where we're developing an app to help with the revitalisation of our 're' or language," Solomon says. "We had an awesome team down there of really talented musicians and app developers and film crew who all came down to just get a feel for the island and the Moriori background.

"[We] did heaps of soundscapes. We also have a really awesome CD that was recorded with old traditional Moriori 'rongo' (waiata)."

Tamarau-Ariki, 26, who is the son of Moriori lead treaty negotiator Maui Solomon, feels it is important for younger people with shared Moriori and Māori whakapapa like himself to find a healthy balance between their cultures.

"I guess the biggest challenge would be trying to find a balance between my Moriori-tanga and Māori-tanga. Obviously, I identify equally with both but I guess the challenge for me would just be trying to make sure there is a stable connection between both sides, especially with there being a lot of Moriori and Māori on the island."

Solomon says Moriori his age are great friends with other young Ngāti Mutunga on Rēkohu (Chatham Islands).

"There are quite a lot of Ngāti Mutunga around my age that are down there but a lot of them are also Moriori and the same goes for a lot of Moriori, or rather a lot of people who identify as Moriori are also Ngāti Mutunga, and we all get along really well."

He says his younger generation are positive about the future of Rēkohu.

"I think it's definitely the hard work's been done now to pave a path for younger generations and, you know, it was never going to be easy but I think looking forward into the future it's really promising, especially with a lot of the younger generations coming forward, they just want to get along and move on with it, which I think is the sensible way forward."