Māori academics respond to claims made by academic author of ‘Killing Te Reo’
By Te Karere
We are far too obsessed with pronunciation which contributes to te reo Māori failure - that is a statement made by NZ historian Paul Moon following the launch of his latest book 'Killing Te Reo Māori.'
However, some of the country's top te reo Māori professors are highly critical of Moon and the claims made in his newly launched book.
According to Professor Rangi Matamua, our language should be respected.
“Kia rangatira tō tātou reo, mīharo au ki tēnei tangata a Paul Moon te hia kore ōna i whakamā.”
Professor Temara and Professor Matamua are experts in te reo Māori at the University of Waikato and Temara says pronunciation is vital in language revitalisation.
“Nā te rorirori tērā kōrero. He whakaiti tēnei nā te tangata kaikiri i taku reo. Me mutu tāna raweke i taku reo. Me hoki anō ia ki te ao Pākehā rangahau ai i te ao Pākehā.”
Yesterday Te Karere spoke to Dr Moon with the launch of his book which claims te reo Māori hasn't benefitted from language revitalisation efforts like Te Wiki o te Reo Māori.
Matamua adds that all Moon is doing is throwing stones.
“He kurukuru kōhatu noa iho tāna mahi. He aha te aha ka pāhawa i te kurukuru kōhatu? He kore!”
All he is doing is just throwing stones. What good does throwing stones do? Absolutely nothing!
Temara also questions if it’s purely for profit.
“Kia hokona ai pea tana pukapuka?”
“Āe, kia hokona pea tana pukapuka.”
And Matamua has this warning to share with Māori.
“Kia tūpato tātou ki tēnei mea ko te hoihoi Pākehā, ko te Pākehā e kōrero ana mō ngā kaupapa Māori.”
Professor Rawinia Higgins is a board member of Te Mātāwai. She has spent a long time fighting hard for the future of the reo over countless strategies. She says this research that has been conducted isn't exactly new news.
“Mēnā ka noho ki te āta tātari i ngā mahi i ngā kaupapa kua pīkauhia i roto i ngā toru tekau tau, āe, he nui. Ko wētahi he mararā tonu, kāre i te tino whakakotahi engari koinā mātou i hanga i te whare o te reo mauriora kia kite atu he aha kē te wāhi ki te Karauna, he aha kē te wāhi ki a tātou te iwi Māori kia mahi ngātahi, kia whai hua anō tō tātou reo Māori, kia reo mauriora.”
Finally, Temara says he will not allow non-Māori research to dictate to him the happenings of his own language.
“Kua kore au e whakaae mā te Pākehā ware ki te reo ahau e rangahau, e kōrero i taku reo. Kore, kore, kore! Ehara ngā kōrero i te kōrero ka whaiwhaihia e au, e te mātanga o te reo Māori.”
These reo experts believe the claims in this book are like water off a duck's back.