Topic: Te Reo Māori

Maniapoto debate addresses concerns about the state of its language

By Hone-Haunui Rapana
  • Waikato/Bay of Plenty

One of the countries largest tribes Maniapoto, have grave concerns about the future of its well-versed speakers. In a language debate last night, future leaders of the region used wit to raise awareness about the state of the language on its marae and region.

Voicing the concern of the future to the present leaders about the traditions of the past.

Raniera Winikerei (Ngāti Maniapoto, Ngāti Koroki) says, "We're trying to find new ways to get the language out to the people, so tonight we hold a debate to let the language be heard by the people of Maniapoto."

Hinurewa Poutu (Ngāti Rangi, Ngāti Maniapoto) adds, "When people gather, discussion takes place, so to gather the people here, it's natural that te reo will be spoken."

Young leaders of the tribe led a team to debate the issue of whether English should be spoken during a formal welcome, highlighting that it is time that changes tradition.

The sixth largest tribe according to the past two census statistics, leaders of the region have noticed that the high calibre of Maniapoto knowledge and history is decreasing.

"There are concerns and we are worried, likewise to other tribes, but it is clear that the amount of capable speakers on our marae in Maniapoto are decreasing," says Winikerei.

Language stalwart Tom Roa (Ngāti Maniapoto) says, "I'm feeling sorry for the language of Maniapoto, and our traditions, we need to find time."

"I have deep remorse for our marae here at home, we've lost most of our ancestors who know the history," adds Doug Ruki (Ngāti Maniapoto).

Victory is not the main outcome for this gathering, as the winner knows that the level of competition picks up.

Winikerei explains, "The winning team from the first round will then take on the judges."

Maniapoto are looking at holding a Kura Reo in the region as part of the revitalisation of the Maniapoto dialect and traditions.

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