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Toi te Kupu - Language is the source

Monday 19 December 2016

Toi te Kupu - Language is the source

Toi Tangata has just released a revised edition of its popular health resource, Toi te Kupu.

Toi te Kupu, the Māori health dictionary, was first published in 2014 as a collaborative effort between the NZ Heart Foundation and Toi Tangata.

The resource was developed to help normalise te reo Māori in and around kai. However, during the development of the book, it became apparent there needed to be words for cooking, cooking equipment, and the preparation of food. As food is one of the main determinants of health, words with connections to health were sought.

“How can we have conversations with our tamariki and mokopuna about food and health if we don't know the appropriate kupu? We would have to revert to English, which often changes the nuances of the meaning,” says Mason Ngawhika, of Toi Tangata.

Proving popular, both the Heart Foundation and Toi Tangata quickly ran out of books and a new batch need to be printed. Toi Tangata used this opportunity to create a revised edition and included exercise and fitness language.

“The inclusion of a physical activity section was an intuitive next step as nutrition and physical activity often go together. The collation of kupu required an extensive consultation with a number of reo experts and reo novelists,” says Hariata Tai Rakena, of Toi Tangata.

“It wasn't the easiest process but I'm very happy with the outcome,” says Mason.

Health has always been important to te iwi Māori with the word ‘kia ora’ literally meaning ‘be healthy’. However, traditionally health was seen as a collective obligation rather than the personal responsibility often termed today.


ends

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