Key Points:

It's elitist in its outlook but don't expect Maori language experts at Te Panekiretanga o te Reo to apologise for that.

For the past four years the group has shoulder-tapped Maoridom's top language exponents in a bid to take their language skills to higher levels.

But that's left them open to criticism that native speakers can't understand what they're saying, essentially making up a "Panekiretanga" version of Maori.

Leading lights Pou Temara, Timoti Karetu and Wharehuia Milroy are involved in teaching between 15 and 30 students a year.

Mr Temara said not everyone was invited or capable of attending institutes like Harvard.

The same idea applies to Te Panekiretanga, which is run with Te Wananga o Aotearoa.

"It's for people who are fluent in Maori. We take them to a level of fluency where they can rightly say they have reached the excellence of Maori language attainment.

"It's unashamedly for middle-class Maori people and many of them are younger and many of them are very successful. Not just in the Maori language but also in their career."

The course was about taking students to a level even native students could be envious of, Mr Temara said.

"Much of what we teach is waiata, the haka of the Maori and H.W. Williams [one of the oldest Maori dictionaries]. We've actually forgotten how to speak."

Te Karere presenter and Unitec adjunct professor Scotty Morrison is a graduate of the programme and now assists with it. He said he faced "constant criticism" from viewers about using words which they thought were new, but were actually archaic.

Words that had caused grief included "pokoraho" (used for land claims), "angitu" (success or luck) and "matakuikui" (joyous).

"There's an argument that, 'Oh, we didn't use those words when we were younger'. But that doesn't mean they didn't exist. We've lost a lot through colonisation. I tend to think if you haven't heard the word, do a bit of research. Open a dictionary.

"Some people think they've got a monopoly on the language."

While beginners were more than catered for at institutions, those with a broader grasp had been left a little out in the cold until Te Panekiretanga.

Professor Morrison said excellence shouldn't be shied away from.

* Translation

E whai ana i te tohungatanga o te reo, engari e kore nga manu mohio o Te Panekiretanga o te Reo e tuohu ki a wai ranei o te hunga amuamu mai.

Kua tae te tono ki nga kaikorero tino matatau ki te korero i te reo Maori mo nga tau e wha ka hipa ake nei kia noho mai hei kaiako, i runga i te hiahia ki te whakatu wananga Maori e tini piki ai to ratou reo ki runga rawa.

Ko nga kaiako matua ko Pou Temara, ratou ko Timoti Karetu, ko Wharehuia Milroy, a, 15 ki te 30 te tokomaha a ratou akonga i te tau.

E ai ki a Pou Temara me titiro ki nga whare wananga penei i Harvard nei, kaore e uru te katoa ki ona tomokanga, he pera ano te whakaaro mo te Panekiretanga.

Kei te kawea nga akoranga i raro i te maru o Te Wananga o Aotearoa.

"He mea whakatauira mo te hunga matatau ki te korero Maori. Ka arahina e matou kia tino rere a-tuna mai te kupu i o ratou mangai, kia tika ai te ki, kua huatau, kua pai ki te korero i te reo.

"He mea ata waihanga mo te hunga kua maro ke te haere i roto i a ratou mahi, kua takahia e ratou nga huarahi o te matauranga. Kapa i te reo Maori anake engari i te ao mahi ano."

Ko te hiahia kia piki te reo o te tangata ki tetahi taumata e miharotia ai te reo korero e te hunga matatau tonu," te ki a Pou.

"Ko etahi o nga whakatau whakaaro ka akona i konei i ahu mai i nga moteatea me nga haka, tae atu ki te punakupu o Te Wiremu. Kua ahua wareware tatou me pehea te whakamahi i te reo."

He pukenga a Scotty Morrison i raro i te Panekiretanga i nga tau o mua, inaianei kua hoki ki te awhina i nga akoranga. Ki a ia "he maha nga amuamu a nga kaimataki pouaka whakaata" ki a ia mo nga kupu e pohehe nei ratou he kupu hou, engari he kupu no nehera ke, kua whakaarahia mai ano.

Ko etahi o nga kupu e tautohetia nei ko te pokoraho - he kupu i whakamahi mo nga kereme whenua, te kupu angitu, mo te toanga i tetahi mahi, me te matakuikui, he kupu mo te hari.

"Ko etahi e mea ana kaore matou i rongo i ena kupu i to matou tamarikitanga. Engari ehara tera i te whakatuturutanga o te ki, ehara enei i te kupu Maori. Na te taoro mai a tauiwi i te iwi Maori he tini nga kupu i ngaro. Ki a au, mehemea kaore ano koe kia rongo i tetahi kupu, rangahaua atu. Wherahia mai te papakupu.

"E mea ana etahi tangata ko ratou anake te mana o te reo Maori."

He pai nga akoranga mo te hunga tauhou i nga whare wananga maha, engari i ahua wareware ki te whakatu kaupapa mo te hunga matatau, i mua i Te Panekiretanga. Kia kaua te tangata e kukume whakararo i te tangata e piki ana ki nga taumata, e ai ki a Scotty.