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Oh, 'Kia Ora', Minita

Oh, 'Kia Ora', Minita

ACT New Zealand Maori Affairs Spokesman Stephen Franks today labelled Associate Tangata Whenua Minister Tariana Turia's proposal to now refer to Maori as Tangata Whenua - and drop the term `Maori' altogether - as a questionable diversion from real issues.

"Ms Turia's arguments could be valid. But - while Maori are beset by crime, child abuse, sickness and welfare dependency - why is the Minister is more worried about changing the wording of her letterhead?" Mr Franks said.

"Labour's thought police focus on these types of symbols to make others feel awkward. It is a form of snobbery. They distinguish the anointed insiders from the people they despise. While most of New Zealand continues to use the term `Maori', they can be chastised by the politically correct users of `Tangata Whenua' - and everyone can avoid looking at real causes of discrimination or disadvantage.

"I use words if they are useful. I accept `pakeha' because it is convenient and everyone understands it. I take no offence, so long as no offence is meant. The same applies for `Maori' and will do so for `Tangata Whenua', should it become mainstream. But I beg one mercy - a promise not to invent macron requirements, or litter text with random capital letters.

"If `Tangata Whenua' catches on - as it will with Labour's bone-wearing thought police - there will be one great advantage: no macron. Tangata Whenua might also be harder to mutate. So far, in the past decade, there have been five mutations of `Maori: `Mayori', `Maaari', Moul-rdi' `More-di' and now - unless I'm with the wrong crowd - `Maardi'.

"With each, as soon as the earnest majority begins to feel comfortable that they have the anointed pronunciation - albeit less accurate than that of te reo speakers - the bone-wearers give us a new version.

"I will accept any term Maori choose to use, so long as it is widely used and understood. But Ms Turia could be pouring her energies into initiatives to help Maori or Tangata Whenua throughout the country, rather than just her Wellington tribe of PC anointed," Mr Franks said.

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