The other day, I heard someone say that his passion was to learn his Ngāti Porou dialect as opposed to Maori language in general. This is also my passion in addition to doing research in this area of language studies within Te Tairāwhiti. For sometime now, I have been following project ‘Nga Tama Toa: The Price of Citizenship‘ written by Monty Soutar with keen interest and great anticipation. The project aims to translate the entire book in dialects used in and around the East Coast areas including Te Whanau a Apanui, Ngai Tai, Te Aitanga a Mahaki, Rongowhakaata, Ngai Tamanuhiri and Ngati Porou. It is headed up by a panel of language experts from the East Coast; however, the work of translation seems to be a slow process, but despite this, the project has the potential to provide a rich source for language analysis in areas such as dialect, vocabulary, structure, discourse and comparative studies among others. I will be posting updates as the project pushes forward. Taku tautoko ake e te Hikurangi maunga.
If you have an interest in the dialect and history of the language within your own iwi, then I think this will be a great area of study for your own area and the Maori language in general. For those who are already engaged in this work, I hope it is bearing fruit, kia kaha tonu, paneke whakamua.
To read more about the Nga Tama Toa project located on the Ngāti Porou website, click here.