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Friday, July 25, 2008

Te Wiki o te Reo Māori

Google New Zealand now has a Google Aotearoa page in te reo Maori. It's a front page for Google search at this stage - not a Maori language version of all of Google's services (which are many). This is part of the normalisation process for the language - making it possible for a Maori language speaker to conduct everyday activities in the Maori language, instead of the default American English on which most of the world (and NZ) seems to be set.

I note that Shortland Street had at least one episode subtitled in te reo Maori this week and the national mainstream broadcasters have made efforts at presenting items and issues around te reo Maori. As far as mass education goes it is more of an awareness of the language rather than actually trying to teach the language - given the medium and the audience.

In the absence of any willingness at all from a Labour government to make te reo Maori a compulsory subject in the school curriculum it will be through constant repetition and saturation of key words that will make the biggest impact in assisting non-Maori speakers to understand the language.

If you have ever gone through an English dictionary that includes an etymology of the words you will be struck by how little comes from Old English (ie. pre-1150). All the basic words: questions, binaries (up,down - long, short - hot,cold etc.) and so on are from Old English, but 95% plus are imported. In this country we should be aiming to have reasonable familiarity with a majority of these basic terms in te reo Maori in the next generation... at least. That's not aiming particularly high, and is a lot less than should be the case obviously, but it is realistic.

The Maori Party's Te Ururoa Flavell meanwhile raises the point about the Crown appointing all members of the Maori Language Commission and Te Mangai Paho:

“The board of MTS has seven members – four appointed by a Maori electoral college, and three, including the Chair, appointed by Ministers of the Crown. This model clearly works well, and should apply to the other key Maori cultural and language institutions.

Not being fluent or even semi-versed in te reo Maori I use the online version of the widely known Ngata dictionary. The AUT/KEDRI translator is also pretty good.


At 25/7/08 3:42 pm, Blogger Aaron said...

There's also the Maori Dictionary, an online Maori translation service worth a look created by Dr John Moorfeild. Possibly the best, out of all Maori translators online that I have seen.

Personally I think Labour realise that they have done shit all to nurture the cultural aspect of New Zealand. Though acknowledging the fact that both parties signed a Treaty, there is really nothing else that she has shown to prove that she is even the slightest bit interested in the betterment of Maori and tikanga (protocol) in Aotearoa.

Maori language will survive, albeit new lingo, because gone are the days when you here traditional reo being spoken. I am confident that te reo will still be in the hearts and minds of rangatahi today and tomorrow, because belonging to something or having a sense of identity and knowing where you're from only puts gas to the flame when it comes to wanting to find out more about your whakapapa (family history). I was devastated to hear learning te reo and Maori culture wasn't compulsary at school, mind you we do still have kohanga reo, kura kaupapa and so on.

Ka pai though Tim for actively involving the culture of this land into your life. Whether it be actively searching for words to say in Maori, or to simply recognising that Maori are the originators of this land. Tumeke alright.

At 26/7/08 5:47 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maori Language.
I will tell you a story about one of my Maori clients. He was about 5'1" and 19 stone. It was quicker to walk over him than around him.
Anyway, he came into my office one day during Maori Language week and I greeted him;
"Tena koutou, tena koutou, tena koutou, katoa."
He responded;
"Are you making fun of my size?"
"No, not at all. I'm trying to greet you in your own language."
He responded that;
"What you said is welcome to all of you, to all of you, to all of you, and I'm here by myself!"
After that horrid stuff up I gave up trying to speak Hori reo.

At 29/7/08 12:40 pm, Blogger Aaron Kirk said...

Hey Anonymous. I guess with any language, you need to know what your saying before just blurting out what ever sounds right. And a direct reflection of that, is what happened between you and your colleague. Its unfortunate you've given up, but each to his own I guess. Good on you for giving it a go. By the way, where in Tainui are you from?

Did anyone watch Eye to Eye over the weekend? Subject matter was Te Wiki o Te Reo Maori and Maori language in general. Absolutely ridiculous the comments coming from the panelists. Crazy! Made me laugh and cry, to think those type of people are having those thoughts about Maori language.

At 31/7/08 11:04 am, Blogger Cimba7200 said...

I laughed at Anonymous' comment about greeting the big Maori gentleman in Maori. Yes, we really need to understand the language better before trying to greet using it. - Dave


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