Tai Tokerau language expert calls for exclusive Northern wānanga

By Raniera Harrison

Former Te Taura Whiri i Te Reo board member, and staunch Māori language advocate, Quinton Hita (Ngāpuhi) is calling for a new regional-specific Māori language school specifically for Te Tai Tokerau.

It's call for the Tai Tokerau investment collective of Te Mātāwai to fully fund the establishment of a new language school in the north.

"Perhaps we should look at a collaborative approach and set that money aside for Northland Māori language strategies?" he says.

Hita wants to open discussion around the establishment of a regional specific wānanga in Northland, much to that like Te Panekiretanga o Te Reo Māori- reserved only for descendants of the North.

"I do not understand the relevance in splitting up the funding, giving what is essentially crumbs to different strategies in the region."

Under Te Mātāwai and the Te Tai Tokerau Iwi Cluster Investment Plan, the strategy principles include a focus on "the growth of inter-generational transmission of the language."

Hita says a kura achieves this.

"If we were to establish a learning provider in Northland, I know for a fact there would be numerous parties involved- and the resources needed to provide a quality service would be huge."

Hita says that there is disproportionate allocation of resources to allow tribal and regional specific language acquisition in the North and welcomes the prospect of a unified tribal whare wānanga.

"What is the relevance of having a specific language when one is unable to say in Māori they have an itchy bum?" he says.

Submissions to the Tai Tokerau funding round have closed.  However, the Te Reo Tukutuku round closes on the 25th of July.