ki a tatou kaipānui —
As you can’t have failed to be aware by now, this is Māori language week. So we hope it provides a little incentive to become more familiar with Te Reo.
We see it as important for a number of reasons:
- Māori culture is our only indigenous culture
- Language is a fundamental part of culture
- It creates tourist curiosity and attracts them to make a visit
- It gives a sense of worth to many who are at the bottom of the socio-economic heap
As those who have lived in Australia will know, the indigenous Aboriginal population was completely marginalised for a very long time; until 1967 they were treated as simply flora and fauna. That year the Aboriginals were first given voting rights.
Unfortunately, the absence of Aboriginal culture in cities like Sydney and Melbourne has seen its proper place being assumed by virulent and supremacist Islamic culture from the Middle East; Muslims are now 500,000 or 2% of the Australian population, as against 367,000 Aborigines or 1.5% of the population, and most of these are in the north of the country. We don’t want that here.
Where to start? In Waikanae why not try a visit to the Whakarongotai marae. There are also several websites. A good one to start to acquire vocabulary is maoridictionary.co.nz.
Fortunately, written to spoken Māori is reasonably phonetic, unlike English, and once you know the principles you can easily pronounce things.
And in Kapiti, let’s start pronouncing Paraparaumu as that, and not as ‘Paraparam’!