Learning te reo Māori isn't the main priority for many Māori in Northland because they're too busy trying to survive, a Ngā Puhi educator says.
Evelyn Tobin is a strong advocate of Ngā Puhi reo and dialect but has seen the strength of te reo Māori in Northland diminish in recent years.
There are now fourth generation urban Māori who had lost connection to their homelands and marae, Ms Tobin said
Ms Tobin believes there has been a passionate response by urban Māori to learn te reo.
But for many Māori in Northland, economic hardship may be preventing them taking up learning their own language, she said.
Ms Tobin highlights lack of employment, over-representation in social services and the building of a brand new prison in Ngāwha.
"My particular passion and commitment is in te reo - for many families there's a higher priority and it may be in fact as simple as to put bread and butter on their children's table at night."
Te Panekeritanga Māori school of Māori language excellence founder Sir Tīmoti Karetu said middle class educated Māori were another key group driving te reo Māori revitalisation.
"Part of ourselves is becoming a very middle class person of language - because it's the educators who are pushing out the boat.
"They also have the luxury of time and the economic luxury to indulge - the urban areas I think are much much stronger in their fight for the language than rural areas."
Mr Karetu said he never thought there would be a day where speaking te reo would be such a struggle.
"Because when I was younger you never heard English very much in the whole of the Tūhoe area."