Northland language enthusiasts to soar at Te Taumata 2019

By Raniera Harrison

Te Tai Tokerau language enthusiasts will be put through their paces by an all-star line-up of facilitators presenting at Te Taumata 2019: He wānanga reo mō Te Tai Tokerau.

This comes following the announcement of a new language acquisition scheme in Northland that will see a high-caliber teaching cast teaching the next generation.

"We are not seeking fame and recognition for ourselves, but are looking to increase the capacity of others," says Northland Māori language advocate Quinton Hita (Ngāti Ueoneone).

Even though the initiative was fully booked in 12 hours, there is more on the horizon for the benefit of the Northern tribes.

"There is still to be details finalised as of yet- we are really happy that the people have responded to it and agreed to the initiative," says organiser Chey Milne.

Former Māori TV broadcaster Julian Wilcox will join Hita alongside Tatai Henare, Moe Milne, Rereata Makiha, Te Kurataiaho Kapea, and Pipi Mā creator Kristin Ross in the teaching group- a level of guidance some say has not been seen for quite some time.

Current statistics suggest that 33% of the total population in Northland are Māori and of that Māori population only 44% speak te reo Māori. 

Organisers say it's a good starting point.

"It is a shame that there is only approximately 45% but that's better then something smaller.  Let's be happy that there is at least 45% speaking Māori still," says Milne.

Hita says that increasing the tribal capacity for speakers and formal callers on the marae is one of the main objectives of the hui.

"If you are unable to tell me that you have an itchy bottom, then I'm afraid you are inept at speaking Māori.  This isn't to disillusion anyone but an encouragement," says Hita.

The language acquisition course will take place at Northtec's Te Puna o Te Mātauranga Marae from the 27th of January.