Misspelling of Whanganui to end. Another Egmont moment
The reactionary, proudly white Mayor of "Wanganui" considers that the desecration of Maori names is, to use RNZ's words, the city's culture and heritage. Racism and disrespect of Maori is the city's culture and heritage according to the Pakeha Mayor. And he wants that to continue. And when his council's gang insignia bill goes through it will be open season on Maori. Today it has been announced that the NZ Geographic Board have decided that the equivalent of spelling Palmerston North "Pamerston North" should end. Whanganui means great harbour, "Wanganui" is the Pakeha bastardisation of that name.
The local Pakeha pronunciation of the name sounds the same - to me as an outsider - as the local Maori pronunciation. That is a rare thing indeed in the mangled, lazy half-attempts at proper Maori pronunciation of Maori place names that have through repetition become the accepted norm - even amongst non-Tangata Whenua Maori. Dropping the last vowel in speech often emphasising the Europeanisation of the word into something a Maori would not even understand is common. So you would think that in a place where everyone speaks with one voice - literally - it would indicate a level of Maori-Pakeha harmony. Of course not - this is still New Zealand.
But the local Pakeha preference to insist on the misspelling as if it were just an issue they themselves can determine as a phonetic choice or imposition on the Tangata Whenua sadly encapsulates the morbid racism that pervades the conquered Maori provinces. The NZ Geographic Board was hardly going to endorse the continuation of a misspelt Whanganui:
[UPDATE: And the standard type of response from those Pakeha who use their ignorance as attempted humour when faced with a Maori outcome instead of their preferred European one - a resort to idiocy:
What else can they say after a policy of misspelling something - deliberately and thoughtlessly - for 150+ years? The response is an infantile series of non sequiturs that presumably Pakeha are supposed to find amusing. Do they?
The trait is quite common: And that sarcastic post was from an English immigrant. You step off the plane and you can start telling the natives how to spell their own language - that's the vibe. And if they are proved wrong by a Crown board (the white man's law) - well, Maori have a dumb language anyway and they fail at school - that's what these New Zealanders think and what they want the rest of the country to know. --UPDATE ENDS]
[UPDATE -- 31/03/2009:
As I said, a standard response from a certain Pakeha sector:Unoriginal and unfunny.
But this struck me as amusing in the context of the discussion:When I saw only the headline I thought it was because the subbies had misspelt Whanganui all this time. --UPDATE ENDS]