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Ngāti Kahungunu on proposed new Māori Language Strategy

Ngāti Kahungunu Iwi Inc. response to the proposed new Māori Language Strategy

“Tae rawa atu ki te tau 2027 kua noho tonu ko te reo Māori me ōna Ngāti Kahungunutanga, hai reo matua, hai reo kōrero mō Ngāti Kahungunu whānui, ahakoa te kaupapa, ahakoa ki hea.”

“By the year 2027, the Māori language, along with its Ngāti Kahungunu distinctions, will be a principal language of communication for
Ngāti Kahungunu in all events and places.”

Ngāti Kahungunu Iwi Incorporated is the mandated iwi organisation responsible for all aspects of Ngāti Kahungunu development. Ngāti Kahungunu has the third largest iwi population (61,626[1]) and the second largest tribal rohe and coastline, stretching from Paritu and extending inland across the Wharerata ranges in the north to Turakirae in the southern Wairarapa.

The mission of Ngāti Kahungunu Iwi Incorporated is:

“To enhance the mana and well-being of Ngāti Kahungunu”

The newly revised Ngāti Kahungunu Māori language strategy ‘Kahungunu, kia eke!’ was released last week at the Waitangi Day celebrations held in Heretaunga (Hastings). The strategy review process has taken close to two years to complete, including numerous consultation hui held within the Ngāti Kahungunu rohe (region) to ensure that the new strategy is a fair representation of the hopes and aspirations of Ngāti Kahungunu hapū and whānau. The review team consisted of Leon Blake (Ngāti Kahungunu ki Te Wairoa, Ngāi Tūhoe) and Pānia Papa (Ngāti Raukawa), assisted by Jeremy Tātere MacLeod, the Director of Te Reo, Tikanga me te Mātauranga at Ngāti Kahungunu Iwi Incorporated. The final result was the newly revised strategy, “Kahungunu, kia eke! Ngāti Kahungunu Māori Language Strategy 2013-2027. The release of the Ngāti Kahungunu strategy fortuitously coincides with the current consultation process regarding the proposed new Government Māori Language Strategy.

The Ngāti Kahungunu language strategy highlights the alarming diminishing pool of native speakers and the increased need for in-depth research of unique Ngāti Kahungunu dialectal variations, which some warn is on the brink of extinction. The proposed Māori language strategy poses the question:

Te Kounga o Te Reo

• How can Government support the acquisition, use and maintenance of iwi dialects?

Ngāti Kahungunu recommends:

• The Crown engages with Ngāti Kahungunu to work towards the preservation of our unique tribal dialect variations.
• The Crown provides resource for iwi to ensure that unique tribal dialect variations are safe-guarded, preserved and maintained which will in turn encourage usage.
• With the highlighted danger of the imminent loss of native speakers, the Crown must provide immediate funding resource for Ngāti Kahungunu to conduct in-depth research to ascertain and gather our unique tribal dialect variations.
• The Māori language along with the Ngāti Kahungunu distinct tribal variations becomes the principal language of communication within Ngāti Kahungunu.

Ngāti Kahungunu believes that the Crown must provide iwi the avenue to safe-guard and protect their unique tribal dialectal variations and that without immediate action the tribal dialectal variations will ultimately die out with the increasing loss of native speakers.


[1] 2013 Census of Population and Dwellings, New Zealand Ngāti Kahungunu population only, i.e. excludes the vast overseas population.

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