John Middleton: Ko Tahopuni Ko Paonga (a lost Moriori manuscript)
The extinct Moriori language (Chatham Islands) lost its last native speaker in the late 1800s. Efforts to revitalize the language rely on the incredibly small amounts of language data available from this period. Currently, the only known pieces are a petition to the New Zealand Governor George Grey (1862), a tiny dictionary of Moriori words compiled by a magistrate on the Chatham Islands between 1873 and 1891, and a small number of narratives (Shand 1911). This photo shows the first page of a newly rediscovered narrative, which has been hiding deep inside the vaults of the New Zealand National Library. With so little known of this language, any new data is incredibly significant for the efforts by the Moriori people to bring back their language. Translating this story and handing it over to the Moriori people on the Chatham Islands is the next part of this project.
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