7 Dec 2009

Te Reo in Australia seen as at risk

6:35 am on 7 December 2009

Maori are taking more than their job skills with them when they head across the Tasman.

Waatea News reports one in six Maori now live in Australia.

Paul Hamer from the Institute of Policy Studies says just over 6000 or 7% of the 93,000 Maori identified in the Australian Census said they spoke Maori in the home.

He said it will be harder for Maori speakers in Australia to maintain and pass on the language.

Meanwhile, Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples wants older Maori expatriates to come home.

He says New Zealand is missing out on their talents. On recent trips over the Tasman, he's been telling kaumatua their marae are crying out for them.

Dr Sharples told Waatea News he tells them to go home and support "our people."