More Waikato-Tainui adults learning their dialect

By Mānia Clarke
  • Waikato/Bay of Plenty

Many Waikato-Tainui adults are taking up the challenge to learn their dialect and customs. Nearly 100 keen participants, mostly adults, attended the second Te Reo Kaakaho Wānanga for Waikato-Tainui descendants, at Hopuhopu, Ngāruawāhia this weekend. 

At 51-years-old, Lil Pompey is taking up the challenge to learn more about her dialect and customs.

“It's about keeping the teachings of our ancestors, such as the dialect within the canoe of Tainui for my grandchildren and children.”

Te Reo Kaakaho Co-Creator Pānia Papa says, “This is an initiative by Waikato-Tainui, one of their language restoration initiatives within their language and customs strategy.”

The Tikanga Ora Reo Ora strategy was launched earlier this year, at the tribe's biannual iwi games, as part of their vision, to have 80% of their tribe fluent in te reo Māori by 2050.

Te Reo Kaakaho was created by Pānia Papa and Leon Blake and is free to any of the tribal members from its 68 marae, for those aged 16-years and over.

Co-creator Leon Blake says, “Most of the participants are adults which makes me happy, because, they're parents, elders, grandmothers and grandfathers, therefore it's pleasing because they will teach their children and grandchildren.  Hence the language will keep going amongst their families and homes, and that's the place where it should start.”

Te Kaakaho Teacher Hariru Roa, “Within our youth we are seeing the standard of the language improving, as we saw at the national kapa haka competition last week, so that's a good sign that our language is alive and well within Waikato-Tainui.”

It's rumoured that Pānia Papa could be the Tainui spokesperson for Te Mātāwai.

Papa says, “The King wants a representative for all regions of the Tainui to promote the language. That's something important to him, so, he decided to present my name for that, and I would not disagree with anything he decides. Whatever he says, it's done.”

Tainui will confirm their Mātāwai spokesperson in the coming weeks.