Linguistics expert Ghil'ad Zuckermann says that the loss of language is more damaging for indigenous peoples than the loss of their land.
Professor Zuckermann is Chair of Linguistics and Endangered Languages at the University of Adelaide, and is visiting Waikato University.
Professor Zuckerman says the emphasis often seems to be more on land than language but while compensation can be given for land, that is not possible for loss of a language.
He says when a language is lost, people also lose their intellectual sovereignty and their culture.
Professor Zuckerman says language and culture are intertwined and because of this it's impossible to see how land can be seen as more important.