Elders look to revive Taranaki dialect

By Dean Nathan

Native speakers of the Taranaki dialect are seeing difficulties in the teaching and retention of their language.

According to Huirangi Waikerepuru, “I find it difficult listening to many of our elders who are not proficient speakers of the language.

“That's the issue for us of Taranaki.  But as the saying goes, we must be brave stout hearted to achieve that.”

Native speakers are ensuring kōhanga reo are using the local dialect and are also lobbying relatives who live away from home.

Aside from the work being done at a local level, they are also challenging Māori Television to provide programmes where the Taranaki dialect is spoken by children.

Mererua Ruka says, “Programmes promoting the incorrect use of the language need to be wiped and more of our children need to be speaking on television.

There is no use doing all this work, if our kids aren't speaking the language.”