Great Barrier Island locals are concerned about the survival of te reo Māori on the island.   

Local Mairehau Cleave says the native birds have declined on Great Barrier and so too have native reo Māori speakers on the island.

"He ātaahua tēnei moutere, engari kua ngaro te reo i konei. Kua ngaro ngā reo manu hoki. Ko te wawata, ko te tūmanako kia hoki ora pai te reo me ngā waiata o ngā manu."

Despite not having any Ngātiwai blood, Cleave says her parents lived and worked on the island and this is where she grew up. 

"I te wā i kuraina au i konei, he maha ngā tāngata e kōrero Māori ana. I tēnei wā he torutoru noa iho, tēnā pea tokowhā ngā tāngata e kōrero Māori ana." 

According to the 2013 Census, 885 people live on Great Barrier Island yet 17.9 percent are of Māori descent. 

Cleave says for many residents, their reo journey would start at high school on the mainland, however, being a teacher at Te Kura o Okiwi she wants to change that. 

Every Thursday a Māori language class is held for the community and Te Kupenga Reo o Ngātiwai also supports. 

However, Cleave believes it's through the children that the Māori language will survive on the island. 

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