Tūhoe dialect focus of research

By Mere McLean
  • Waikato/Bay of Plenty

Some Tuhoe are reclaiming their dialect by dropping the 'g' in the word 'ng' when writing and speaking māori. Te Uru Taumatua Chairman Tamati Kruger says if your language is your identity, it is dialect which identifies who you are and where you come from.

Te Kawa o Te Urewera, written in Tūhoe dialect by Te Uru Taumatua is missing the 'g' in 'ng'. Tūhoe leader Tamati Kruger says there is no 'g' in the word 'ng'.

Te Uru Taumatua Treaty negotiator Tamati Kruger says, “In my opinion, that's the language of Hinepūkohurani and Te Maunga, there's no 'g'.”

Dropping the 'g' in 'ng' is the themes of a research project called Te Mana Motuhake o Te Reo. The research is being conducted by Waitangi Teepa as part of her master’s degree.

“The best thing that this issue is being done for our generation of Tūhoe is that we are talking about it.  We are talking about our language, where it's heading and what we need to contribute regarding our language," says Teepa. 

Tūhoe is the seventh largest Iwi and has a high population of Māori speakers.  In 2006, 39% of the tribe could speak Māori.  Kruger says there is a big push to increase the number of speakers.

Kruger says, “The bigger picture, is reviving the language. That's the battle, that's the fight. Our goal is to not lose the language.”

Kruger says dropping the 'g' ensures Tūhoe dialect doesn't become extinct.

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