Te Waihoroi Shortland has been appointed as Te Tai Tokerau's selection to Te Mātāwai. Te Kāea caught up with this te reo Māori ambassador.
Shortland believes, to say the Māori language is in a good shape would be wrong.
“Even now we're only treading water. And if we stop treading water, our language will drown. So we need to stop just treading water and begin swimming and taking the language amongst this generation.”
Shortland says his focus for revitalising the language will be on the next generation.
“That's why I'm saying through this position I will say to my children and grandchildren and lobby in the future for initiatives under government legislation and our own initiatives to realise the aspirations of Te Mātāwai of reviving our language amongst the next generation. It's a big job.”
The newly appointed member of Te Mātāwai says if the language is only promoted in schools and tertiary education it will eventually die out.
“This generation must know how to express themselves in Māori to have fun and speak in simple terms and address all and any situations people find themselves in in this language.”
Shortland says Te Mātāwai has a big challenge ahead to ensure the language survives into the future.