Tuesday July 25, 2017   Last updated 10:42AM

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Expertise not essential for reo survival

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The Tairawhiti representative on the new Maori language board Te Matawai says he’s looking for strategies which embrace all learners and don’t scare people away from te reo.

Jeremy Tatere MacLeod moved to New Zealand from Brisbane in 2004 to learn Maori, and he now heads up Ngati Kahungunu’s language strategy.

He told Radio Waatea host and fellow Te Matawai member Willie Jackson the language is under threat of extinction in some regions including Kahungunu, but existing strategies aren’t delivering.

He says not everyone wants to be a fluent orator, and for many it’s just about being comfortable enough with the language to bless the kai or give a mihi at a tangi.

"The fluent speakers of te reo Maori have assumed all of these roles on the marae because there is such a shortage. We've all become kaiwhaikorero. We've become tohunga, we've become priests, we've become ministers, but not everyone aspirtes to be that andwe need to look at that and what are the barriers? It can't be an exclusive language, it has to be an open language,and it's everybody's birthright, as long as it can be communicated, and if I can understand you, you can understand me, koira te mea nui ki a au ," Mr MacLeod says.


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