'Joy to hear dialects of northern tribes'

By Te Ao - Māori News

Moving our native tongue to another level is the catchcry of the Tai Tokerau Māori Language Symposium, with language experts gathering in Kerikeri this weekend to share their knowledge.

Language practices were a topic of discussion at the Tai Tokerau symposium.

"I believe the language is in good health. What's required now is for us to maintain it, do the work and continue speaking it," Amberlee May Smith says, who is Te Rarawa and Te Aupōuri.

Moana Aroha Henry says the symposium is a special treat.

"Here we hear the dialects of the northern tribes and that's the benefit of this symposium. They come from all places and dusty roads across Northland so it's a joy to come here today," Henry who is Ngāti Hine, Ngāti Wai, Te Rarawa and Ngāpuhi says.

Students are grateful to the dedicated teachers who for years have been passing on the language to all those keen to learn.

"Our goal in Whangaroa is to follow in the footsteps of esteemed language exponents like Piri Mokena and my grandfather and others who were steeped in the language and the Māori world," Raniera Kaio of Whangaroa Whānui says.

Meetings have been held to promote and teach the Māori language from Whangarei to Hokianga, and then to gather for the symposium run by Te Mātāwai.

It is a gathering of peoples passionate about the promotion and teaching of te reo Māori.  

Story by Dean Nathan for Te Ao.