Regional | Te Tauihu Iwi

Māori language revitalisation at heart of Te Tauihu symposium

Te Tauihu iwi have come together again in a bid to empower language revitalisation across the top of the South.

Rangitāne o Wairau and Ngāti Apa ki te Rā Tō have partnered for the third time to bring to life a two-day reo Māori symposium in Marlborough at the end of May in an attempt to aid efforts to uplift te reo Māori to te reo rangatira (chiefly language).

Te Kaiaotanga o Te Reo was aimed at empowering the efforts of reo Māori kaiako and advocates while sharing mātauranga (knowledge) of language revitalisation techniques by experts from across the motu.

Language loss has devastated iwi across Aotearoa, including the eight iwi of Te Tauihu, a spokesperson for Rangitāne ki Wairau said.

“We stand in a time when tribes must embark on their own journey to develop revitalisation strategies aimed at saving te reo Māori from the brink of extinction.”

Reo Māori advocate Dr Hana O’Regan will take to the stage as a keynote speaker with award-winning bilingual Māori broadcaster Oriini Kaipara, kaitiaki taonga and reo Māori advocate Āwhina Twomey, esteemed reo Māori academic Korohere Ngāpō, musician Hareriua ‘Ruia’ Aperahama, and a leading pou hāpai tikanga cultural advisor Te Ahu Rei.

They will be joined by Te Tai Tonga MP and Te Pāti Māori member Tākuta Ferris and Māori culture consultant Iriaka Epiha-Ferris, alongside local reo Māori advocates Janis and Anthony de Thierry, and iwi historian, kaiako and Kāpiti Coast District Council advisor Kahu Ropata.

Corey Hebberd, the kaiwhakahaere matua at Rangitāne o Wairau said revitalisation of te reo Māori was important for iwi across the motu.

“Te Tauihu o Te Waka a Māui has borne witness to the silent erosion of our precious Māori language, echoing the struggle faced by many regions across Aotearoa,” Hebberd said.

“Now is the time for our nation to forge paths towards revitalisation, safeguarding te reo Māori for the future.

“Rangitāne o Wairua and Ngāti Apa ki Te Rā Tō are excited to bring this kaupapa back to the Wairau for the benefit of our hapori (community).”

Rowena Smith, the acting kaiwhakahaere matua of Ngāti Apa ki Te Rā Tō, said it was important for iwi to come togethet to protect and enhance te reo Māori in Te Tauihu.

“Kotahitanga (unity) is key to our success, and our combined endeavour to safeguard and rejuvenate te reo Māori is paramount,” Smith said.

“By pooling our efforts and drawing upon our collective knowledge, our goal is to kindle a sense of optimism within our community, guaranteeing the preservation and thriving of te reo Māori within our rohe.”

Tickets for the Te Kaiaotanga o Te Reo at Blenheim’s ASB Theatre on May 30 and 31 can be purchased via the event’s website

- Marlborough Express