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Iwi applies C.P.R to save a dying language

Iwi applies C.P.R to save a dying language

Ngāti Kahungunu Iwi Inc. is thrilled to host this inaugural language symposium, named ‘Te reo ki tua!’, a new initiative that has been developed to further enhance the Ngāti Kahungunu Māori Language Strategy which strives for te reo Māori to be successfully revitalized by 2027. This initiative showcases some of the tribe's most prolific language exponents who have worked tirelessly over decades to successfully revive the language within Ngāti Kahungunu which was all but nearly decimated during the early 1900s. This symposium also enlists two internationally recognized language revitalization experts, Dr. Ghil'ad Zuckermann of Israel and Dr. Kaliko Baker of Hawaii. They are both recognized exponents in the field of language revival and we are honoured to have them attend as keynote speakers at our inaugural symposium, alongside other nationally recognized language champions from other tribes.

The ultimate goal from this symposium is to raise awareness around the dire state of our dying language. The symposium will delve into issues facing the teaching of the language to second language learners, the difficulties faced with raising bi-lingual children, the identification of tribal dialectal variations, the role of the language in modern day society, the new proposed Māori language bill which will change the face of the governance of Māori language revitalization funds from the government, the efforts of the indigenous people of Hawaii to retain their language, the saving on endangered languages especially with the example of the successful revernacularization of the Hebrew language.

Ngāti Kahungunu suffered major language losses at the hand of colonization and still witnesses a depleting pool of native speakers of the language. “Our tribe must act urgently to safeguard and protect the language” says Iwi Director of Te Reo and Tikanga Jeremy Tātere MacLeod, “And this two day symposium serves to increase awareness, to encourage second language learners, to strengthen key language champions and to give families the tools for making their homes bi-lingual”. This two day symposium will attract up to 500 keen language enthusiasts from around the nation, especially those who are keen to learn and share innovative methods of saving endangered languages. Iwi leaders anticipate that this will generate a huge amount of interest from the language community within New Zealand and extend a warm invitation to anyone keen to attend.

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