Moriori re is the language that belongs to the indigenous inhabitants of Rekohu (Chatham Islands). It is similar to te reo in may ways, as it should be, because maori and moriori share the same ancestors and the same beginnings.
Sadly, there are no fluent speakers of moriori re left alive. But there are written collections of the language left for scholars to study. There have been plenty of attempts to document and record what was known of the language before it disappeared. But in the 21st century, that is not the problem and nor is it the reason why the language is “on hold”. There are a (small) handful of people that are actively working at collating and studying the re. Without them, it will surely disappear. The real reason for its demise is a lack of motivation or determination from society for the language to survive. If the government wanted to keep moriori re, it would invest in it and ensure that it was maintained, as it has done with te reo.
By addressing the demise of the language and reinvigorating it as another “official” language of NewZealand would also mean having a discussion about who and what Moriori are and where their rightful place is in our history. It is far easier to let it slide into oblivion and history than to publicly debate what has happened in the past.
Moriori do not expect that moriori re would become compulsory in every school in New Zealand, but they do expect that it would be at least acknowledged as an official and authentic langauge of New Zealand. If for no other reason that the following: Moriori are the indigenous people of Rekohu. Rekohu is part of New Zealand. Therefore their language is a New Zealand language.
Ironically, we spend over 430 million dollars each year protecting our native flora and fauna, and even several million on protecting introduced species such as trout, surely it makes sense to invest in protecting a language that is as unique to our country as is te reo. It doesnt have to cost much to do it. It simply needs to be given official language status.
Why should we teach our akonga moriori re? Firstly, it is a given that many students will experience success as a results of learning a second language. Secondly, many akonga that are bi-lingual =find it easy to acquire subsequent languages. Students that learn moriori re, learn about the people and their hokopapa and the history of peace. They;
- develop language skills and an appreciation of the re
- develop an understanding of the history of moriori
- contribute to keeping the language alive
- help change the misconceptions about moriori
Free Education resources unit-plans
If you are doing a unit on settlement with your kids, consider doing the Misty Skies unit as part of your studies. It makes a nice comparison with the settlement of New Zealand. The difference on Rekohu is that the Europeans came before the Maori, and after the Moriori. Have a look, its fascinating and kids love it. This is something completely new for them and gets them away from the ‘same old stuff’ that some teachers tend to teach for their Treaty topics.
To download unit plan templates in each curriculum area, simply go to the appropriate curriculum area by clicking on one of the links to the left. Each curriculum page has a drop-down list containing all of the unit plan templates….(for free)…..or you could try this drop-down list below?