Tūhoe reo activist supports removal of “G” in written language

By Taroi Black
  • Waikato/Bay of Plenty

A reo activist from Tūhoe, Rangitunoa Black, agrees that the silent letter 'g' should be dropped in the written form after Te Uru Taumatua announced that the importance of its unique dialect should be maintained in its written form.

Black is supporting Te Uru Taumatua and their idea of revitalising their own language.

Black says, “Tūhoe is independent of their own language.”

Tūhoe negotiator Tamati Kruger told Te Kāea the idea was a way of reclaiming their dialect by dropping the 'g' in the word 'ng' when writing and speaking Māori. The idea has provoked wide debate among many Tūhoe.

Black says, “The main thing is that we uplift what the Treaty stands for as an example gives us that right to speak our own language which means an outside perspective is irrelevant. Each waka needs to ensure that they have their own language, their language originates from their forefathers and our job is to retain the essence of what they have installed in the language and in our lifestyle.”

But the idea isn't supported by all, Harata Williams, kuia of Tūhoe urban marae in Auckland, Te Tira Hou says the 'g' should stay.

“G or no g, the main thing is that our language is spoken continuously. In terms of our kids, it's up to them to figure that part out as they mature. And when they go to their own iwi, they will pick up the sound and flow of their own dialect. We as Tūhoe have adjusted so what's the purpose of dropping 'g'. But we've always retained our own unique dialect without the use of the g. That's how we were brought up so to answer your question, it is what it is.”

Te Uru Taumatua will continue to discuss the idea as part of their Tūhoe reo strategy.

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