In recent times, during the Māori language revitalisation era, there has been a renewed interest in learning and promoting Māori dialects. Iwi identification is often signalled by younger speakers of Māori through pronunciation, idiom, vocabulary and written forms that are thought to be associated with a particular iwi or region. To date, there has not been promotion of a standard form of Māori; standardisation efforts have instead largely focused on lexical/technical development and promoting orthographic consistencies for writing Māori. Māori language is changing because of the need to create a new language for the modern world, along with dramatic changes, especially in the pronunciation of Māori, mostly due to influences from New Zealand English. This paper discusses the literature on linguistic dialect variation, the historical context, and contemporary issues and tensions related to dialect usage and language change which have arisen in the language revitalisation era. It suggests that renewed interest in dialects can be framed in relation to overt expressions of what are sometimes termed “language ideologies” or beliefs about language. It is argued that further research is required on Māori language ideologies in general, attitudes towards dialects and motivations for using them, and Māori language use amongst younger speakers of Māori.