French Polynesian President calls for 'revival' of language and relationship between Tahiti and NZ

The president of French Polynesia was in Gisborne today calling for a revival of language and relationship between New Zealand and Tahiti as commemorations for Tuia 250 got underway. 

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Edouard Fritch says he has asked Jacinda Ardern to form a committee to strengthen both Te Reo Māori and Te Reo Tahiti. Source: 1 NEWS

Jacinda Ardern is joined by dignitaries on the east coast to commemorate the 250th anniversary of the first encounters between Māori and Europeans following the arrival of James Cook and the Endeavour at Gisborne.

The event saw ships and waka arrive from New Zealand and around the Pacific for the festivities.

Edouard Fritch told 1 NEWS he has suggested to Ms Ardern that forming a committee will help to give “more dynamics between te reo Māori and te reo Tahiti, so we can revive the language”.

He spoke fondly of the language that unites both New Zealand and Tahiti and said that strengthening the language should also be considered alongside strengthening the relationship between both countries.

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Edouard Fritch was interviewed by 1 NEWS’ Stacey Morrison as part of the Tuia 250 commemorations. Source: 1 NEWS

“It is true that we have today the English language, the Tahitian language, the French language and te reo Māori but it’s not enough. We need to work further to revive not only the linguistic of this language, but at the same time to strengthen our relationship.

“I believe today the basics of our language is very similar. So I don’t think there’s too much difficulty in reviving the language,” Mr Fritch said.

Tahiti is sending a va'a (canoe) in recognition of special links with Māori.