Reconnecting people with their language and supporting the aspirations of the community will be two of many things Te Matawai will play a role in, says the organisation's new Te Tai Tokerau member.

Te Waihoroi Shortland, of Ngati Hine, is the Te Tai Tokerau representative on Te Matawai - an independent statutory body established under the Maori Language Act to promote the health and well-being of te reo Maori and absorb the role of Te Putahi Paoho - the electoral college of Maori Television that represents Maori stakeholder interests in the Maori Television Service.

Mr Shortland said being on Te Matawai puts the skills he has gained over the years back into language revival.

"It's what Te Matawai will do on the ground and in the regions. The real proof of what Te Matawai can do comes only when it finds a way of giving substance to the aspirations of the community and at home, reconnecting people with the language."


Mr Shortland said there were various ways of looking at the current health of te reo Maori but of particular concern was the 75 to 80 per cent of people who "live outside the reo".

"People without that language fluency that allows them to enjoy the fruits of the language. It comes down to those of us who benefit from [te reo Maori] to change that landscape."

Mr Shortland has been involved in various reviews of the Maori Language Act and worked in Maori broadcasting for "30-odd years".

Te Tai Tokerau selection group spokeswoman Nora Rameka said iwi and hapu of Te Tai Tokerau had actively participated in many hui on the Maori Language Act and the selection process leading to Mr Shortland's position on Te Matawai.

She said the applicants were all of a very high calibre and Mr Shortland brought a wealth of experience.