Art & Entertainment | Book Reviews | Education | Entertainment Video | Health | Lifestyle | Sport | Sport Video | Search

 


Learning Te Reo: One Word At A Time

Learning Te Reo: One Word At A Time #TeKupu

As Māori Language Week nears, Race Relations Commissioner and Māori language student Dame Susan Devoy says instead of making a maunga out of a molehill we should look to our kids for inspiration.

Tracing my whakapapa or family tree is something I’m looking forward to and there are some awesome people who are going to help me do it. It won’t be easy but we’re a determined bunch so I’m sure we’ll get there. By the time my mokopuna are at school I hope they’ll know a bit more about their whakapapa than their grandmother did.

So I’ve been trying to learn te reo Māori for a year or so now. Trying is the operative word because it’s not easy. Like most Kiwis I’m monolingual, which means I was brought up speaking one language and that language permeated every inch of the nation I call home. I grew up in Rotorua – or Rotovegas as we fondly call our sulphur city – where Māori culture, language and people are a huge part of our identity. But even here in the Bay of Plenty, the stronghold of Te Arawa and Mataatua: the Anti-Anything-Maori mentality is still very strong. A good example right now can be found in Tauranga, where a few are making a maunga out of a molehill over the addition of a macron or a dash over the u in Otūmoetai. One local commentator’s maunga is so huge he’s resorted to profanity - “Arselets”, “dick”, “dicks”, “stupid little dick”. I wrote to him and told him freedom of speech is a right: but his words aren’t about freedom of speech, they’re just offensive. Spelling words properly isn’t about being PC. It’s about spelling. Quite simply this issue isn’t about a Māori name versus a Pākehā name : it’s about the correct spelling of the Māori name. As I understand the changes will take place when the signs need replacing, therefore there’s no burden on the tax payer either. A hugely significant pa site, Otūmoetai is also a major suburb and home to many kids who deserve to know how to pronounce the name of the place they live in. Would the British argue over whether or not to bother spelling or pronouncing Stonehenge or Windsor properly? I doubt it. A newspaper campaign to deliberately mispronounce a word is quite simply pathetic.

When Hinewehi Mohi first sung our national anthem in Māori at a rugby test in England, there were howls of indignation. How dare she! some cried. But 15-years-later, singing God of Nations in te reo is normal and sung loudly and proudly by thousands of Kiwis. Like South Africa , we publically and proudly highlight our national languages before every test. But to give them their dues, the Springboks beat us to it. Four years before Hinewehi sung E Ihowa Atua at Twickenham, the Springboks stood alongside their President, Nelson Mandela to sing their anthem in five of the republic’s eleven national languages.

The centre of gravity of public opinion about te reo Māori has shifted significantly since 1999 and we have many people and particularly our own children to thank. Unlike a lot of their elders, Kiwi kids don’t bat an eyelid at te reo because they know Māori language and culture doesn’t threaten them; our kids know it’s one of the things that makes us Kiwis and our country not just unique, but also totally awesome.

ENDS


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 
Carrie Fisher: Hollywood In-Breeding & The Velocity Of Being - Binoy Kampmark

There was always going to be a good deal of thick drama around Carrie Fisher, by her own confession, a product of Hollywood in-breeding. Her parents, Debbie Reynolds and the crooner Eddie Fisher, provided ample material for the gossip columns in a marriage breakup after Eddie sped away with Elizabeth Taylor. More>>

  • Image: Tracey Nearmy / EPA
  • Gordon Campbell: On The Best Albums Of 2016

    OK, I’m not even going to try and rationalise this surrender to a ‘best of’ listicle. Still…maybe there is an argument for making some semblance of narrative order out of a year that brought us Trump, Brexit and the deaths of Prince, David Bowie, Leonard Cohen and Alan Vega, who I missed just as much as the Big Three. So without further ado….oh, but first a word from the sponsor More>>

    Emojis: World’s First Māori Emoji App Launched

    It’s here - the world’s first Māori emoji app Emotiki has landed just in time for summer roadtrips and santa stockings, with 200 Māori and Kiwi cultural icons for people to share their kiwiana moments with each other and the world. More>>

    Howard Davis: Album Of The Year - Van Morrison's 'Keep Me Singing'

    2016 was a grand year for Van The Man - The Belfast Cowboy turned 71, received a knighthood, and reissued an expanded set of soul-fired live recordings from 1973 ('It's Too Late to Stop Now'). In the game for 53 years now, Morrison's albums consistently open new windows into the heart and soul of one of the most enigmatic figures in modern music. More>>

    Review: The NZSO Performs Handel's Messiah

    Max Rashbrooke: Saturday night's performance took the piece back to something like the way it would have originally been performed when premiered in 1742, with an orchestra of 20-30 players and only a few more singers. More>>

    Culture: Rare Hundertwasser Conservation Posters Found After 40 Years

    When Jan and Arnold Heine put a roll of conservation posters into storage in 1974 they had no idea that 42 years later they would be collectors items. More>>

    Scoop Review Of Books: The Stolen Island: Searching for ‘Ata by Scott Hamilton

    Reviewed by Michael Horowitz
    Located even further south than temperate Noumea, Tonga’s tiny island of ‘Ata might have become the jewel of the kingdom’s burgeoning tourist industry. Imagine a Tongan resort that would not only be mild in winter, but pleasant in summer. More>>

    Scoop Review of Books: Extraordinary Anywhere: Essays On Place From Aotearoa NZ

    The New Zealand landscape undoubtedly is very beautiful, but so is the British one, and my attachment to this country is much more about some particular places, and the memories and emotions that in them combine, than it is about the landscape as a whole. More>>

    Get More From Scoop

     
     

    LATEST HEADLINES

     
     
     
     
    Culture
    Search Scoop  
     
     
    Powered by Vodafone
    NZ independent news