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Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori

Written By: - Date published: 10:37 am, September 19th, 2021 - 78 comments
Categories: culture, Deep stuff, Maori Issues - Tags:

Te Wiki o Te Reu Māori is coming to a close.  The past week’s events highlight the resurgence of and dependance on Te Ao Māori.  Nowadays most of us, at least in the circles that I move in, have a deep and growing respect for Te Ao Māori and realise that it is the best expression of living in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Previously Pakeha response to Māori culture and especially language had a depressing history.

Under the Treaty of Waitangi the Crown promised to preserve to Māori their taonga, or precious things.

Once ensconced the promises contained in the Treaty were quickly forgotten.  Māori lost control of huge tracts of land, and what was not taken was compromised or polluted.  And not only was Te Reo Māori not taught, but it’s use was actively discouraged with reports of Māori students being disciplined if they used Te Reo at school.

With increasing urbanisation post second world war the language was in peril.  But concerted efforts especially in the 1970s arrested the decline.

The first Māori Language Week occurred in 1975.  From that time on there were a number of principled attacks on the status quo, Dun Mihaka insisting on addressing the Courts in Te Reo being one and westie Naida Glavish insisting on greeting Telecom callers with “Kia Ora” being two notable examples.

The Waitangi Tribunal decision released in 1986 on the Te Reo claim presented an important impetus to Te Reo’s rejuvenation.  The importance of the issue was captured in this submission made to the Tribunal by Ngāpuhi leader Sir James Hēnare:

The language is the core of our Māori culture and mana. Ko te reo te mauri o te mana Māori. (The language is the life force of the mana Māori.) If the language dies, as some predict, what do we have left to us? Then, I ask our own people, who are we?”

This statement was reinforced in the judgment of the Tribunal where it said:

Some New Zealanders may say that the loss of Maori language is unimportant. The claimants in reply have reminded us that the Maori culture is a part of the heritage of New Zealand and that the Maori language is at the heart of that culture. If the language dies the culture will die, and something quite unique will have been lost to the world.

The conclusion of the Tribunal is captured in this passage:

The evidence and argument has made it clear to us that by the Treaty the Crown did promise to recognise and protect the language and that that promise has not been kept. The ‘guarantee’ in the Treaty requires affirma­tive action to protect and sustain the language, not a passive obligation to tolerate its existence and certainly not a right to deny its use in any place. it is, after all, the first language of the country, the language of the original inhabitants and the language in which the first signed copy of the Treaty was written. But educational policy over many years and the effect of the media in using almost nothing but english has swamped the Māori language and done it great harm.

We have recorded much of what we were told of the effect upon Māori children of our educational policy and it makes dismal reading. it seems that many Māori children leave school uneducated by normal standards, and that disability bedevils their progress for the rest of their lives.

We have recommended that te reo Māori should be restored to its proper place by making it an official language of new Zealand with the right to use it on any public occasion, in the Courts, in dealing with government departments, with local authorities and with all public bodies. We say that it should be widely taught from an early stage in the educational process. We think instruction in Māori should be available as of right to the children of parents who seek it. We do not recote mmend that it should be a compulsory subject in the schools, nor do we support the publication of all official documents in both english and Māori, at least at this stage in our development, for we think it more profitable to promote the language than to impose it.

Since then I think even the most cautious of commentators would agree that the health of te reo Māori has improved.

Each year it seems to me that te reo becomes more mainstream.  Just listen or watch any media nowadays if you need proof, especially during the past week.  What would once have attracted howls of derision and claims of Wokism is now lauded and supported.  On Radio New Zealand Guyon Espiner was an earlier proponent whose efforts have influenced Suzy Ferguson and even Corin Dann is now attempting to weave it into his discourse.

And when TVNZ Weatherman Dan Corbett uses te reo to present the weather forecast you know things are changing.

Te reo is becoming a more and more important feature of the local music scene.  This recent release from Moana and the Tribe released especially for te Wiki o Te Reo Māori is absolutely stunning.

Dave Dobbyn has also been releasing Te Reo versions of his songs for a while and has realised the importance of using te reo and its power in creating a true sense of place.

And Lorde has recently released te reo versions of her songs.

Her decision to do so attracted some criticism.  For instance Rangimarie Sophie Jolly at the Spinoff commented:

So when someone like Lorde, with her good intentions and her allyship, requests an opportunity for collaboration in the reo Māori music space, of course it can be very triggering. It’s hard to accept that her intentions are good when we know that she’ll profit from the white-saviourism (even if the proceeds are being donated, all press is good press).

It’s also hard to see the lateral violence on behalf of her, when Māori begin to undermine or attack other Māori for the sake of protecting her. Pākehā have no place at the centre of the reo revitalisation movement, those with whakapapa Māori do. And until every single one of us, every kid with Māori ancestors, every whānau dispossessed, every rangatahi chanting Land Back and dreaming of their whenua, every aunty in the kitchen who thinks it’s too late – until every one of us has got our reo where it needs to be, the mamae is gonna carry on. It’s very real and it hurts in a way that is difficult to describe when we operate in a largely westernised framework. That doesn’t make the pain any less valid though.

Others, like Morgan Godfrey in the Guardian are more supportive:

Where I depart from many of those same Māori without the language is that I think it’s vital that Pākehā speak it alongside us. For that reason alone Lorde’s five track, Māori language accompaniment to her new album, Solar Power, is a pop culture landmark we should welcome. And yet on social media the reaction, at least from many Māori, is caustic. On Twitter and Instagram users wrote about the album triggering the language loss trauma they carry. The strangely psychoanalytic tone of that charge aside, it’s certainly happening. Hearing the language, especially in the mouth of a Pākāha person, is a reminder of its absence in your own. This kind of cognitive burden is punishing.

The more persuasive critics take a slightly different view (one that doesn’t centre individual feelings) arguing, as one well-respected tōhunga (expert) on Māori dance did, that the album amounts to “tokenism”. One can appreciate that argument, and the discussions of trauma as well, but the implications are worrying for the future of the Māori language. If we must wait for perfect circumstances to speak or sing te reo rangatira – nobody’s trauma is triggered, no tokenism is detected – we may as well sign the language’s death certificate. In fighting for Māori radio, Māori television, Māori language schooling, and more the Māori language activists of the 70s and 80s knew that for the language to survive it must act as a functional language, deployed across institutions, mediums, and communities both Māori and non-Māori.

This is not an easy discussion for Pakeha to parse.  Our intentions are predominately good but I accept that our understanding of the nuances of the debate are not optimal.  For me I prefer Morgan Godfrey’s preference to keep alive and nurture the language to Rangimarie Jolly’s insistence that historical wrongs be righted because as Morgan rightfully notes otherwise the language may die.  But I accept that this is an issue that required more intensive thought and discussion.

Many of us are doing what we can to support the resurgence of Te Reo.  For my part I have learned sufficient to be able to stand on a marae and speak in a formal setting without hopefully making an idiot of my self.  My attempts appear to be well received although possibly for the entertainment they provide.  But as an elected representative with a commitment to observance of the Treaty of Waitangi I think it is the least I can do.

Ko te reo te mauri o te mana Māori.  May it be replenished and nurtured.

Reprinted from gregpresland.com

78 comments on “Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori ”

  1. Anne 1

    Thank-you for that hauntingly beautiful rendering by Moana and the Tribe ms. It reminds me how much we owe our national cultural expertise to Maori. Yet too many people still openly express hatred and disdain towards them.

    I have family members who cannot see past the crime statistics, the laziness [supposed] and the drug problems linked to some Maori. They cannot or will not concede that it was Pakeha historical abuse towards Maori that set these problems in motion. Like anti-vaxxers they are so convinced of their righteous views, they become belligerent if you dare to question them.

    I have suggested on occasion their inferiority complexes have turned them into racists – a comment that always goes down like a sack of bricks. wink

    • Patricia Bremner 1.1

      I too have had people in my life who acted and spoke on their views to the detriment of Maori, usually through anger or fear.

      When it is pointed out to them, they justify their attitudes, often quoting views which are racist.

      I have repeated back to them their extreme position, "Do you mean…?" as if confirming what I have heard.

      Sometimes when they hear it back they modify, and that gives an opportunity to find the "Why" of their stance. I have found sometimes change can then begin.

      We see that when European and others try to use the language most Maori are pleased and supportive.

      There will always be a number who feel we are trespassing on a taonga in a token way. Racism is a two way street again caused by anger and fear. So we should not be too surprised, and it is definitely dropping away as familiarity removes fear.

      Build a path to find our way forward. Hangaia he ara kia pai ai to taatua anga whakamua.

      Waiata seems a great way to share and become familiar with phrases and the meanings and pronunciation.

      Once again an excellent post Thank you Micky

      • Anne 1.1.1

        It depends on the individuals concerned whether it is possible to break through the barrier that prevents them from exploring another's point of view. In the case of my family members, they are so sure of their superior knowledge they are never going to accept my perspective. There is an element of political bias too which complicates the argument.

        I know they don't have inferiority complexes, but when your relatives gang-up on you then it is a case of throwing it back into their faces.

        • Patricia Bremner 1.1.1.1

          That must be hard to deal with. I have relatives who "change the subject" because " I'm biased" . They have put it in the "Too hard basket". "Agree to disagree" is as good as it gets. You are in the majority Anne. Kia kaha.

          • Anne 1.1.1.1.1

            I have relatives who "change the subject" because " I'm biased" . They have put it in the "Too hard basket". "Agree to disagree" …

            Tell me about it! It never occurs to them they are the ones who are biased or more to the point, not well informed. When I can, my tactic is to steer them away from the core of the matter by latching on to some innocuous aspect which we can agree on.

  2. Ad 2

    Place is going nuts when it's got harder to get into a te reo course than a pottery course.

  3. Gezza 3

    I've been trying to do my bit here with using a smattering of kupu Māori here, & I texted my teina (younger sibling of the same sex) birthday wishes in Maori, (with an English translation) on the 13th.

    My knowledge of Te Reo is abysmally microscopic, but I'm steadily working my way thru an online audio-lingual package, trying to increase it.

    I'm blown away by all the fluent speakers on Te Karere & Maori TV.

    I get a bit frustrated with RNZ using sometimes rather a lot of it without necessarily translating it directly to English afterwards. I find myself trying to work out what they've said & using Te Ake Maori Dictionary or Google Translate to find out what they said.

    On occasion its been difficult to nail down whether they've used several separate words or one long one. And sometimes they've mispronounced, say, 'o' in a word, using an 'au' pronunciation.

    Google Translate is obviously benefiting from continuing/ongoing Māori input into their AI system. It has far improved on its early "Māori to English" translation efforts. You sometimes get back weird results, but it's surprising how often you now get a very accurate – or at least intelligible – English translation.

    Maori language syntax & grammar is completely different from that of European languages. It takes quite a mind re-reset to try & get my head around it. But I'm gonna carry on. Just seems crazy to be living in this country & not be able to speak & understand its native language.

    Not everyone finds it easy to speak other languages. I went to school with a few people who were quite brilliant is some academic areas but yet who just couldn't get the pronunciation or the heck of say, French or Latin.

    If I had my school days again, I'd definitely be enrolling for Te Reo Maori, & French. Stuff Latin – altho as the Romans had the same a e i o u vowel sounds, I've never had trouble pronouncing Maori, once I hear it.

    Maori language interest has really taken off under the Ardern administration. Once you get into the language you can finally begin to grasp some of the central concepts Māori often talk about in Te Ao Māori, like mana, tapu, wairua, mauri, kaitiakitanga, Tangaroa, nga taniwha, whakapapa – often right back to ancestor-named landmarks.

    At first I thought these things were just superstitious mumbo jumbo, but I now grasp how they have been taught to infuse knowledge & tikanga into nga rangatahi, & how these are of real & practical value to the way they want to live in – and with – their environment.

    I loathe the gangs, but I don't make the mistake of confusing them with mana whenua. Nor do I ever mistake a Māori as a bit slow because, say, they haven't finished high school. Many of them are bi-lingual in English & Māori. I'm still too dumb for that.

    • Robert Guyton 3.1

      "mumbo jumbo" – Ouch!!

      There's a wonderfully simple/subtle "handbook" for the terms you mention: Manu, tapu te mea te mea: the wheke: A CELEBRATION OF INFINITE WISDOM Written by Rangimarie Turuku Pere. It's written (I believe) for the early childhood sector, but as that's where many of us are, with regards understanding te ao Maori, it's a lovely place to start.

      Hā ki roto, hā ki waho

      • Gezza 3.1.1

        Thanks Robert.

        Re your: “mumbo jumbo” – Ouch!!

        It’s mostly to do with my being raised a Catholic, receiving a good education, including in science – in the Catholic school system – and by about 4th or 5th becoming a know-it-all dedicated atheist. So anything that smacks of “religion”, or superstition, I’ve usually given short shrift.

        These days, I would more accurately describe myself as an agnostic – E.g while I don’t believe any of the Abrahamic religions, I’m open to the idea there is possibly a creator (science still hasn’t explained the cause of the big bang, nor managed to generate the actual life spark of a living, reproducing entity).

        And I’ve certainly many times experienced phenomena that some folk would describe as “spiritual”, for want of a better term. I often experience such feelings when near water, or when akone in te ngahere (the bush/forest). I imagine you have too?

        I once put my face & hand on the trunk of a living tree when bush-walking, & I swear I could feel its life, radiating into my face & hand. This I think is where Māori & I could well “connect”.

        • Gezza 3.1.1.1

          Drat. *4th or 5th FORM…

        • Robert Guyton 3.1.1.2

          What a great series of comments, Gezza! What I was hinting at was the use of the racist term, "mumbo jumbo" which I guess was a slight on African first-peoples by white colonists 🙂

          The Big Bang's a bit of a hoot, eh! A Singularity that defies belief! From nothing, something! If you can believe that, you can believe anything! Science is a great entertainment, isn't it!

          Your experience of feeling a tree's life radiating, that's not so much where you and Maori can connect, it's where you and trees connect – you don't need a middle-man 🙂

          • Gezza 3.1.1.2.1

            I'm not just a pretty face, Robert. 😉 (Would that I could be so lucky – my face perhaps could sink a thousand ships.)

            What I meant was, that's when I think I really understood why those Māori who genuinely embrace Te Ao Māori believe that everything (even stone) has mauri (life force).

            There's something magic about being alone in te ngahere. One can almost feel the life force all around, and the sheer beauty & wonder of it.

            • Robert Guyton 3.1.1.2.1.1

              Faces-that-could-scuttle are the best faces, imo, Gezza – imagine the burden being pretty brings! So much harder to sympathise/empathise with the vast majority!

              "Even stone", you write! Indeed. How about cloud? rain, the moon, the west wind, a pond, a spring, a puddle, a droplet? A grain of sand…hang on, someone somewhere said something about a grain of sand (a he wasn't Maori, neither!) The planets? Are they gods in material form, as has been claimed/proposed? Has an idea "life force"? Has a chair? A teaspoon? A memory? A fairy-story? A rumour? 🙂

              • Gezza

                Gonna let that one go, Robert. You’re veering into philosophy, something I try & avoid cos it often ends up doing my head in. 😀

                • Descendant Of Smith

                  I've enjoyed for a longtime now the science thinking behind the sense of self and the alternative sense of oneness.

                  The notion that the sense of self developed in the modern part of the brain and that if you close down that part of the brain though chanting, mediation, praying, etc then you do feel at one with nature and the universe as you have no sense of self anymore.

                  Damasio's Descarte's Error is a good starting point for this.

                  The challenge of learning Te Reo as a non-Maori is ethically interesting. I can certainly understand miles more than I can speak and in the 80's was clearly told by kuia that they wouldn't teach me and needed to put their time and effort into their people. They were quite adamantly opposed to teaching pakeha.

                  That is only part of the picture though. There are other fears like how much do pakeha need to know before they become dangerous – that they start making decisions for Maori because they now think that they know what concepts like kotahitanga or manaakitanga or kaitiakitanga mean even though their marae contact is on formal occasions for work and they have no regular lived experience – that notions of self determination are then thrown out the window – colonisation using Maori terms is still colonisation none-the-less.

                  Many of those pakeha learning are in positions of power already – I don't see any of them pushing for Maori self-determination after several years of language and concept learning – no desire at all to relinquish any power or to share power. For some I've met over the years the new knowledge entrenches their power cause now they have ticked off some boxes. This emboldens them to make even more decisions for Maori.

                  No thought to make structural changes even within their own organisations to lift Maori incomes – profit and personal wealth rather than collective wealth still the driving force.

                  It is a fine line.

                  But answer this – with all the pakeha learning that has gone in over the last thirty years are we seeing power shift back to Maori and how quickly? Does the learning they do teach them enough for them to realise they need to stop being part of the problem?

                  And then if you want to really be cynical there's the old 80's issue of spuds. Do you when you share power as a pakeha only share it with those who think like you anyway – so nothing really has been gained. Looks good on the surface – we are to a large extent products of the institutions we grow up with.

                  • Gezza

                    I’m going to have some late brunch, & then have a good read of your comment there, DOS. There’s a bit of grey matter stimulation I need to do with that before responding.

                    Something I want to mention is that for a wee while I wondered why the Māori Language Commission was going out of its way to compose & promulgate new Māori kupu (words) for just about anything you can name in the English dictionary. Even in Maths & the Sciences. I wondered why Māori students couldn’t just use the English word where there was not traditional Māori kupu for it. As we do with, say, Latin or French terms that get used in English dialogue.

                    I thought it was a bit inauthentic, & my tuakana (older sibling of the same sex) is a linguist & English language teacher – reasonably fluent in Māori, among other languages. He told me some time back that a few of the Taranaki kaumatua weren’t too happy with the Māori language commission teaching some of their rangatahi the “East Coast” dialect, instead of their own – and nga kupu they’d never heard of

                    In more recent times I’ve realised that this is in fact a well-thought out strategy. They want eventually for it to be possible for rangatahi to receive a full education via Te Reo as the instructional medium. And it makes Te Reo Māori a vibrant, living language, not locked to the past.

                    • alwyn

                      Out of curiosity can you tell us who are the people who will write the textbooks? I am not aware of any textbooks written in Maori that would enable the teaching of even basic Physics without reference to some other language.

                    • Robert Guyton

                      To which "physics" do you refer, Alwyn? Newtonian?

                    • Gezza

                      @ Alwyn

                      “Out of curiosity can you tell us who are the people who will write the textbooks?”
                      … … … …

                      Damn – I had a whole selection of English science terms with their Maori kupu equivalents from Te Ake online Maori Dictionary typed out the Notes app, but when I “selected all” I must’ve accidentally hit backspace on this iPad keyboard & they all went bloody West, unrecoverable. 😠

                      I’ll just use this, as a quick example:

                      • The average distance from earth to the sun is 93 million miles
                      • Te tawhiti toharite i te whenua ki te ra, ko te 93 miriona maile (or maere, if preferred instead).

                      I belive The MLC has taken the approach that, if you build it, the textbook writers & the teachers will come. And they’re right. They will.

                      Of course, to collaborate with scientific colleagues overseas they will probably need to communicate in English, but Many Māori academics are already fluently bi-lingual. Or multi-lingual. I doubt this will be a major hurdle. It’s supposedly easier to learn two languages if you start on it very young.

                    • Descendant Of Smith

                      "Taranaki kaumatua weren’t too happy with the Māori language commission teaching some of their rangatahi the “East Coast” dialect"

                      lol I was going to mention that as well but thought I'd put enough in that comment.

                      My King Country uncle used to bemoan exactly the same thing – send the kids off to university and they came back speaking a foreign language. He used to particularly moan about Nga Puhi though I understood others would more often moan about Ngati Porou as most of the lecturers were Ngati Porou. The Whanganui problem is the classic example of difference.

                  • Robert Guyton

                    "The notion that the sense of self developed in the modern part of the brain and that if you close down that part of the brain though chanting, mediation, praying, etc then you do feel at one with nature and the universe as you have no sense of self anymore."

                    Paul Stamets and Terence McKenna have advice to anyone pondering these issues 🙂

                    Fracturing your "institutional thinking" is a necessary start to building a new model for interacting with the world. I'm very interested in locating and immersing myself in the "reactor" at the core of consciousness, the germ of creativity that flares "inside" all of us; it's not so hard to find but something of a challenge to interpret, extract meaning from and record. Some artists and poets are the closest to the mark, I reckon. Glimpses brought back look and sound very odd, especially if you've just begun your explorations. Salvador Dali used to take his siesta in a chair with a marble in each hand… (it's a cryptic clue 🙂

                    • Descendant Of Smith

                      Historically there is an interesting link between art and science that was needed to work together to change thinking.

                      As science discovered that the heavens were not the homes of the gods but that they were just a continuation of the natural environment then the artists changed how gods were depicted. Not as giant beings towering over humans but as people the same size as humans with more humanlike characteristics.

                      Heavens were painted with stars and planets.

                      The artists influenced much of public thinking in what was a paradigmal shift for many.

                      At one level we are just a bag of chemicals reacting with other chemicals. Thinking, mediating, taking drugs, drinking alcohol, walking peacefully in the bush – all just invoke a different chemical reaction – for better or worse.

                  • Gezza

                    Ah yes, DOS.

                    Māori self-determination – mana motuhake!

                    “No thought to make structural changes even within their own organisations to lift Maori incomes – profit and personal wealth rather than collective wealth still the driving force.

                    It is a fine line.”
                    … … …
                    There are now several iwi-based or hapu-based profitable business ventures (those with a strong international tourism focus are suffering from L4 lockdown, as non-Maori tourism operators are, of course) employing mainly iwi staff, & offering iwi scholarships to rangatahi – often from invested funds from Treaty Settlements.

                    Whether and how they set these up – either as corporate or collective/cooperative models – is entirely up to the iwi & their people to decide.
                    .. … …
                    “But answer this – with all the pakeha learning that has gone in over the last thirty years are we seeing power shift back to Maori and how quickly? Does the learning they do teach them enough for them to realise they need to stop being part of the problem?”
                    … … …

                    Have you checked out He Puapua? It looks like there’s a start to the exploring of possibilities.

                    … … …
                    “And then if you want to really be cynical there’s the old 80’s issue of spuds. Do you when you share power as a pakeha only share it with those who think like you anyway – so nothing really has been gained. Looks good on the surface – we are to a large extent products of the institutions we grow up with.”
                    … … …

                    We Pākehā of now several generations born in this country have to share it with Māori. And they have to share it with us. On what basis we share it, & where our different spheres of primacy or interest lie, is what we will need to spend the next decade or two working-out. Thru korero, kanohi ki te kanohi.

                    Māori are simply not content to let Pākehā continue to decide all matters relating to Māori any more. The most vocal won’t & don’t stand for it. In many realms we are going to need to decide in consultation with Maori what degree of decision-making by Māori should be made locally @ hapu-iwi or marae-level, or at Māori iwi/national association & the political levels.

                    My view at this point in time, anyway.

                • Robert Guyton

                  Drat! 🙂

    • Gezza 3.2

      PS: I came across this RNZ article recently & bookmarked it.

      Any regular listeners to RNZ who don’t know what they’re saying in Te Reo might find it helpful?

      I find that some of their show hosts go beyond these few phrases, losing me – but these are the stock phrases most commonly used by their programme presenters (& sometimes now rather formulaically & inelegantly “rushed through” by Suzy Fergusson, imo).

      https://www.rnz.co.nz/collections/kiaora/greetings-in-te-reo-maori-on-rnz

  4. RedLogix 4

    Every human has a right to be able to speak well in both a universal global language and their cultural one.

    Unfortunately for the moment in many countries like NZ the roles of each are very muddled and for a majority of New Zealanders English is both. This can make the discussion confronting and divisive; provoking this will not take us anywhere good as a nation. Perhaps the best way to move us to a bi-lingual society is to be a lot clearer that Te Reo will be the cultural language for all kiwis regardless of ethnicity – and English the language of business, technology and global communication.

    There are many places in the world – Finland comes to mind – where everyone is bi-lingual and something like this works perfectly well. It's a lot tougher to achieve in NZ where there is a much greater ethnic diversity as a starting point, but if we sold the idea as a way to expand our cultural capacity and national solidarity for everyone – then we stand a good chance of getting there in a generation or two.

    • DS 4.1

      Finland is bilingual because for most of their history they were ruled by Sweden, and Swedish was the language of the minority ruling class (whereas Finnish was the language of the great mass of peasants). Today, the Swedish-speakers are a small minority, but the existence of a designated political party that represents their interests ensures that all Finns have to learn compulsory Swedish.

  5. This is a positive move from the Human Rights Commission.

    Te Reo Maori is an official language and it makes no sense at all to have an expectation that it won't be used or that it appropriate to complain if it is used. . Also to get a standard letter are complaints about the use of the word 'pakeha'

    https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/te-manu-korihi/451684/hrc-to-stop-hearing-individual-complaints-on-use-of-te-reo-maori

    There was an interview with Tova O'Brien about it that was pretty poor on her part so I am not going to link to it.

    • Robert Guyton 5.1

      "Te Reo Maori is an official language and it makes no sense at all to have an expectation that it won't be used or that it appropriate to complain if it is used."

      That's it!

  6. Robert Guyton 6

    Manu should read, mana, but spellcheck or whatever it is, mucks with Maori words terribly!

    • Forget now 6.1

      Āe, there are a few typos, but it doesn't come across as meanspirited as say; deliberately mispronouncing Te Reo Māori to try provoke a reaction (still depressingly common down south), you have to cut people some slack if they are making an honest effort. I missed the "Manu" one, perhaps already corrected? (wait – I see it in your earlier comment to Gezza @ 3.1; RG! I though you meant in the OP. Manu means bird, amongst other things; so that's more misplaced than misspelled anyway)

      Starting with; "Te Wiki o Te Reu Māori" in the first sentence was a bit offputting. Though arguably; Te Reo Māori ki te Reu ki te mauri tō ngā tāngata whenua, so that almost works. Leaving the macrons off Pākehā, when your text quotes it accurately from others is just disorientating.

      • Robert Guyton 6.1.1

        Manu also refers to the "territory" a birder is associated with/can harvest from, on the tiitii islands of the south coast.

  7. Tiger Mountain 7

    Excellent post Micky.

  8. Gezza 8

    And with the recent hot-button debate about whether mātauranga Māori is really hard or classical "science", like, say physics, or chemistry, I've concluded that it's mostly really Māori knowledge – but that it definitely extends into into scientific areas such as soil science, geography, petrology, horticulture, botany, navigation, astronomical / calendar observations, materials science, medical science (rongoa – traditional remedies & healing) and so on.

    There are many university courses these days that classical scientists decry for using that label – e.g. political science, some social sciences.

    Look at the amount of Māori textile science/knowledge that goes into the making of nga piupiu ("grass" skirts). This is highly skilled artisan mahi that requires considerable technical excellence of the manufacturers.

    Even the cutting of harakeke (New Zealand flax) is done in a culturally-specific way where the flax bush is regarded as a whanau. It is accorded great mana, & always ritually cut from the outside leaves, making sure to leave the middle blades, the parents & tamariki leaves – which ensures that the valuable plant is not killed and will keep reproducing new leaves.

    The wastage, traditionally, is bound up and returned to the flax bush, to compost & nourish the plant.

    • RedLogix 8.1

      All pre-industrial societies had their own forms of knowledge based on observation. Without it no-one would have survived. And there is every reason to respect, preserve and build on that knowledge – it has it's own domain and intrinsic value.

      But it's not science, and to claim otherwise is to disrespect both bodies of knowledge. I realise that isn't a palatable thing to say in some circles.

      • Robert Guyton 8.1.1

        What definition of "science” do you hold to, RedLogix?

      • Gezza 8.1.2

        I guess my real point is that, does it really matter whether matauranga Māori is science or traditional knowledge? Māori learned comparatively quickly how to adapt to this new land with its temperate climate. They had to.

        Having wiped out the moa, a valuable source of protein, they also learned from that, that they had to introduce conservation practices – often becoming ritualised & inculcated into folklore, whakatauki (proverbs), & Māori tikanga.

        I’ve no doubt that Māori, in alliance with Universities & private companies, are investing their energies in looking back at their traditional knowledge & examining whether almost-lost knowledge of the medicinal properties of native plants can be developed into modern pharmaceuticals and/or natural healing products.

        And whether, for example, with the push on to reduce the amount of plastics generated & often left to cause damage in the environment (eg choking marine life, breaking down into microplastic nodules that are turning up in our fish & seabirds that eat them worldwide) there’s value in returning to the use of harakeke (flax) for cordage & ropes, perhaps coated with something less enviro-toxic than plastics?

        Māori made fortunes out of running their own rope-making factories when Pākehā first settled & traded with them. They were used everywhere on sailing ships.

        There’s no doubt that some Māori academics are geeting their knickers in a twist, believing that their Māori science is being disrespected, its mana trampled on by their Pāhekā colleagues who insist its NOT SCIENCE. To me, the argument about whether matauranga Māori is science or not isn’t worth having & just wastes words, energy, & time.

        Those involved in the Enlightenment hard sciences are just getting on with doing the science. Those involved in matauranga Māori should just get on with doing the matauranga Māori, imo.

        • Robert Guyton 8.1.2.1

          Gezza – this might/will interest you, in regards the science question. Robyn Wall Kimmerer explains these connections/overlaps beautifully here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZAH_pqVMZ0Q

          • Gezza 8.1.2.1.1

            Kia ora, Rōpata. Ka matakitaki ahau i to rīpene ataata. 👍🏼

          • Gezza 8.1.2.1.2

            Yes, it does indeed, Robert.

            She is of a North American First Nation people’s descent & she describes very similar concepts & relationships of her native people with their natural environment – in particular, as a botanist – with plants to those we hear from Māori who are steeped in their matauranga, rongoā Maori, & Māoritanga,

            Māori TV sometimes features documentaries of such first peoples around the world & they all have similar cultural connections to their environment, personating animals, plants, landmasses & knowing the native names, uses, & properties of hundreds of native plants, mosses, fungi etc.

            As Māori nga tohunga (specialists), cooks, gatherers do, they, for example, express gratitude (karakia) when they harvest or otherwise use the gifts of the forest, or a particular plant itself, & they also reciprocate the plant’s gift by giving back to the plant (utu).

            And as she points out, as classically scientifically-educated people like her, over in the US have begun to research & look for ways of sustainable living, & for more holistic, less still-principally extractive sustainability options for natural biological resources, intellectual evolution & 1st people’s ancient cultural evolution are sometimes melding into the same thing.

      • Tricledrown 8.1.3

        Redlogix you are trying to rewrite history science is trial and error.

        Polynesians could navigate by the stars 5,000 yrs before Europeans.They new all the stars there orientation to the particular time of the year.only by observations and keeping records/data .Polynesians invented the sextant thousands of years before Europeans.

        Growing food ,by experimenting where crops grow best.

        Where did traditional medicines come from.

        When looking at European history science is relatively new.Education little more than a 140 yrs old most people could bible bash but modern education is not that old .

        People in the west thought the earth was still flat while Polynesians had been travelling huge distances over a vast ocean with no landmarks.

        Redlogix you are still living in your colonial supremacist world.p

    • alwyn 8.2

      " to compost & nourish the plant."

      Now that is one traditional piece of knowledge I would love to discover. How can I compost flax leaves, or those of the cabbage tree for that matter, in any reasonable time.

      • Gezza 8.2.1

        Ask a Māori who works with them.

        When making cordage (rope or string) out of harakeke, Māori usually scrape the flax leaves with a mussel shell to strip the pith & outer leaf structure from the fibre, & then just roll it into a cord on their leg, with a neat trick to continue rolling the next segment of cord into the first & so on, until they get their desired final length.

        So the waste is minus the fibre & probably breaks down relatively quickly. But they usually source their flax leaves from specially grown gardens of numerous flax bushes, so they have no need for it to break down into compost quickly anyway.

        There are YouTube videos showing how cordage is made from harakeke, & I remember the nuns getting a kuia to come to my primary school & demonstrate for us Pākehā kidz how it’s done.

        She also showed us how Māori make a bull-roarer & what it sounds like. Can’t remember the Māori name for those – but they’re something Māori have traditionally made for centuries too. They have some spiritual connotations. There are YouTube vids of those too.

        • Gezza 8.2.1.1

          *Purerehua (or whēorooro) = Māori bullroarer

          • Gezza 8.2.1.1.1
            • Pūrerehua (hard remembering where macrons go. I sometimes include macrons & on double checking there aren't any in a Māori word, or it's not where I expected one to be – on the first vowel in he kupu.)
      • Robert Guyton 8.2.2

        "reasonable time" ha! Good one!

      • Gezza 8.2.3

        Hi alwyn – further to our discussion up the page a bit yesterday …

        Just a few (randomly-searched) examples of Māori nga kupu (words) in maths (pāngarau) & science (pūtaiao)

        tau tōpū
        1. (noun) integer.
        Ko ngā tau tōpū ngā tauoti tōrunga, ngā tauoti tōraro, me te ‘0’. Arā, ko te huinga tau nei: {… -3, -2, -1, 0, 1, 2, 3 …}. Karekau he hautanga i roto i te huinga o ngā tau tōpū (TRP 2010:284). / Integers are the set of positive whole numbers, negative whole numbers and zero. There are no fractions in the set of integers (TRP 2010:284).

        unahi
        3. (noun) parabola.
        Ko te unahi te āhua o te mata ina tapahia tētahi koeko kia whakarara te tapahanga ki te rōnaki o te taha o te koeko. Koia anō te āhua o te kauwhata o tētahi whārite pūrua (TRP 2010:304). / A parabola is the shape of the face produced when a cone is cut parallel to its slope. It is also the shape of the graph of a quadratic equation (TRP 2010:304).

        tauraro pātahi
        1. (noun) common denominator (maths)

        taunga tukutuku
        1. (noun) Cartesian coordinates.
        Ko te taunga te wāhi noho o tētahi mea. E rua ngā momo whakaatu i te taunga ki tētahi papa taunga, pērā i te kauwhata, i te mahere rānei. Ko te takirua raupapa hei whakaatu i te taunga tukutuku. Ko te tawhiti me te ahunga hei whakaatu i te taunga ahuroa (TRP 2010:275). / A co-ordinate is the place where something is located. There are two ways of showing the co-ordinates of a point on a co-ordinate plane such as a graph or a map. Ordered pairs are used to show cartesian co-ordinates. Distance and direction are used for polar co-ordinates (TRP 2010:275).

        mātai aronuku
        1. (noun) geology (field of study

        tauhohe matū
        1. (noun) chemical reaction.
        Mā te tauhohe matū e wehewehe ai ngā pūmotu o tētahi pūhui (RP 2009:334). / The elements of a compound can be separated by a chemical reaction.

        tūāwhiorangi autōhiko
        1. (noun) electromagnetic spectrum.
        Ko te aho e kitea ana e te karu tangata, tētahi wāhanga o te tūāwhiorangi autōhiko (RP 2009:417). / Light visible to the human eye is a part of the electromagnetic spectrum (RP 2009:417).

        hihi autōhiko
        1. (noun) electromagnetic radiation

        hua autōhiko
        1. (noun) electromagnetic effect.
        Ka puta te hua autōhiko i te rere o te iahiko i tētahi pūkawe hiko, pērā i te waea. He whaitua autō ka hua ake (RP 2009:202). / The electromagnetic effect is produced by the flow of electric current in a conductor, such as a wire. A magnetic field is formed (RP 2009:202).

        a hauora kararehe
        1. (noun) veterinary science.

        mātai rongoā
        1. (noun) medical science.

        mātai ahupūngao
        1. (noun) physics

  9. arkie 9

    Trinity Roots – Aotearoa

  10. Gezza 10

    This is still my all-time favourite Māori song.

    But then, I'm biased. Although I've been a Wellingtonian since 1974:

    Ko Taranaki te Maunga

    Ko Waiwhakaiho te Awa

    Ko Ngamotu (New Plymouth) te turangawaewae

    and I always pass thru Patea on my trips home to NP.

    • Forget now 10.1

      I'd have to go with this oldie from te Posse. It doesn't keep calm like Moana, or be content with being permitted to twirl its poi toys. This song wants you to stand up and get stuff done despite the hardness of the world!

      Also the Māori/English patois feels more true to the experience of urban Māori in the 80s before Te Reo renaissance was walking on its own feet. Whereas Poi E feels more dated and almost quaint today (gotta love that dancing though!).

      Kia kaha, kia mau ki te Māori

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V2u7yHD_d-o

      • arkie 10.1.1

        In that vein:

        Tautoko te mahi o tēnei ra just about every day

        Dam Native – Behold my Kool Style

      • Gezza 10.1.2

        Poi e might be dated, but it still grabs me musically Forget Now, & it represented something of a breakthrough at its time. It went viral around the world for the Patea Māori Club before going viral on the internet was really a thing.

        I like plenty of other Te Reo songs, including many contemporary ones – they're exploding in popularity.

        I also heard The Bridge on RNZ a couple of weeks ago. Brought back happy days memories.

        PS: Google Translate confidently informs me that "Kia kaha, kia mau ki te Māori" means, in English: "Be strong and hold on to Māori". Close enuf?

        • Forget now 10.1.2.1

          Āe, but it comes off more as "find strength in your Māori identity/ history"; Māoritanga may have been more accurate, but wouldn't have had the same flow. I am not saying that I dislike Poi E, just that E Tū felt like it had more to say – to me. Never been a fan of The Bridge, though heard there was a TV series years later with the singer driving a taxi or something which is supposed to be good – can't recall the name of it though (googled; Now is the Hour).

          BTW, how did you get the youtube video to embed; Gezza? I probably shouldn't have pasted mine as a link in retrospect, but just pasted it in directly.

          • Gezza 10.1.2.1.1

            I just open the YouTube video & copy the url as it's playing, Forget Now.

            Then just paste that into the comments box & hey presto, the video appears, ready to play.

            I'm using an old iPad2 at present. To post here, I frequently have to switch off Javascript before the Comments box will let type text in. But even if I do that after I've copied the YouTube video's url, it still appears as a playable video (once I re-enable JS).

            Not sure why it didn't just work the same way for you. Clicking on your link & choosing "Open in new tab" went straight to your video on EweChewb.

            • Gezza 10.1.2.1.1.1

              Oh … sorry, I see you posted it as a link. Just try copying & pasting the YT URL without using the 'link' function next time?

      • Gezza 10.1.3

        The trumpet solos in this gave me chills, so hauntingly beautiful:

    • alwyn 10.2

      "and I always pass thru Patea on my trips home to NP.".

      That would be quite a trip from Wellington to New Plymouth if you had to avoid going through Patea wouldn't it?

      Would you have to go from Whanganui up to Taumarunui and then back down to Stratford or is there a shorter way? I can't think of any minor roads that cut through the Whanganui National Park.

      • Gezza 10.2.1

        I dunno alwyn, it’s a 4 & 1/2 to 5 hour trip on the main drag thru Bulls, Wanganui & on, so I’ve never tried any other route – that’s the quickest.

        Every now and then I’d skip the turnoff to Stratford at Hawera & take the South Coast road to enjoy the coastal scenery, & little towns like Opunake, Okato, & the different views of our stunining Taranaki Maunga.

        You pass the turnoff to the legendary Parihaka on that road.

  11. Forget now 11

    After; Te Wiki o Te Reu Māori {sic}, the thing that has struck me is that Te Reo Māori itself itself is not that difficult grammerwise. A bit more like Le français, in that you state the noun before the modifier; eg. where English would have; Red House, French and Māori would have; Maison Rouge, or Whare Whero, respectively – which does take a bit of a mental gear shift admittedly. Actually Āe and Oui (or Aye in Scots/ COD Pirate) are pretty similar too, it only seems to be English that hisses its agreement through clenched teeth ("Yes" vs "Ja", "Hai", "Naam" – all much more open sounds).

    Anyway, the difficult thing I find with Te Reo Māori is how you are expected to have memorized (or at least have a passing familiarity with) centuries of oral history and famous speeches. Without which (considerable) effort, I am destined to remain a bit of a duffer on marae whose best option is to keep mouth shut and ears open (especially when you factor in ngā reo ā-iwi).

    Also there is the interpretation of patterns in whakairo and moko that I find rather elusive. While Māori admittedly had no conception of alphabetic writing pre-Cook (and little of a pan-Māori identity with iwi being the paramount allegiance), the carvings and sculptures did form an almost hieroglyphic system of memory prompts that allowed transmission of information over time. It sometimes strikes me as a bit peculiar to be using Roman letters to transcribe Māori words – catholic missionaries using latin vowel values which sometimes confuse an English ear…

    Kāti i konei kei hōhā ngā kanohi ki te titiro.

    • Gezza 11.1

      Yes, & the missionaries used “wh” when they could – & probably should – have used “ph” or “f” for e.g. Whangarei.

      My late mum was a schoolteacher. As children, she taught us at home not to say wen, were, wat (wot) & wy? Because she was taught in Teachers Training School that the “h” is aspirated in aspirated in when, where, what, & why?

      The “wh” in these English words is pronounced with a gentle little blow, or puff.

      Just as “wh” is pronounced in some Taranaki Māori dialects. I knew, when the Geographic Board decided to change the spelling of Wanganui to Whanganui, more than half the country would start pronouncing it (phonetically) “Fanganui” – which is NOT how the relevant Taranaki nga hapū iwi pronounce it.

      It is correctly pronounced Whanganui, with the “wh” softly aspirated, in the local dialect of mana whenua.

      I personally believe the English missionary translators probably heard an aspirated “wh”, or something between that and another sound, which is why they chose that “wh” spelling instead of “ph” or “f”.

      The hardest thing I find trying to learn Māori is the Verb > Subject > Object sentence syntax, & all all the intermediate words or phrases that must be used between them to make grammatical sense. Many of those, and several kupu that are essential to know & be fluent, have no English equivalent or function. But – they make it an interesting language to try & learn BECAUSE it is so different from European languages – and is a good reminder that languages are not all just basically essentially copies of each other with different words.

      I don’t think that it matters all that much though. Māori iwi understand each other’s dialects perfectly well.

      • In Vino 11.1.1

        I think the utter phonetic confusion of English spelling creates greater problems than the missionaries' use of Roman letters: at least the missionaries used the Roman letters consistently for each sound, and made their script a good phonetic representation of the language.

        Just take the letter 'a' – pronounced 'ah' in Maori, and look at the ridiculous ways it is pronounced in English.: atypical' amoral; hat, cat; past, fast; what, squat; water and all. Four totally different and mostly illogical sounds. Small wonder that Pakeha mangle place names like Matamata and Whatawhata.

        Maori written script needs to be praised and lauded in comparison to English written script. Maori is logical and phonetic. The English spelling system is not phonetic – just a botched result of mangled unorganised idiocy, devolved over many years.

        It makes me smile when people call for phonics in teaching English spelling.

        • Gezza 11.1.1.1

          Certainly can agree with that.

          laugh, cough, dough, rough, though, fought
          eight, ate
          bite, byte, bight
          phone, foam
          shoo, shoe

          the list of English words that have no logical spelling & cohesive, consistent pronunciation – & that’s without attempting to start on a list of words with different vowel pronunciations & spellings – is undoubtedly a huge one.

          Must be a helluva difficult language to learn, requiring acquisition of an extensive vocabulary with strong audio lingual cues needed to help interpret how they are all sounded. Quite strange, when I think about it, how many people do learn to speak it as a second language with quite good degrees of fluency & intelligibilty.

          Perhaps it might be because although English grammar is quite an extensive set of rules, simple English sentence structures with a limited number of words are actually easily possible to learn & use?

          I wasn’t criticising the missionary translators; it’s just always been a puzzle to me why they settled on the “wh” spelling for words that nowadays are pronounced in most Māori dialects as ‘f’s. I’d love to be able to bsck in time & HEAR what they were actually hearing.

          Your comment reminded me of this joke, from some years back, that actually if adopted could sort of help getting English overhauled into a simpler spelling & pronunciation format:

          … … …

          The European Commission has just announced an agreement whereby English will be the official language of the EU rather than German which was the other possibility.

          As part of the negotiations, Her Majesty’s Government conceded that English spelling had some room for improvement and has accepted a five year phase-in plan that would be known as “Euro-English”.

          In the first year, “s” will replace the soft “c”. Sertainly, this will make the sivil servants jump with joy. The hard “c” will be dropped in favour of the “k”. This should klear up konfusion and keyboards kan have 1 less letter.

          There will be growing publik enthusiasm in the sekond year, when the troublesome “ph” will be replaced with “f”. This will make words like “fotograf” 20% shorter.

          In the 3rd year, publik akseptanse of the new spelling kan be ekspekted to reach the stage where more komplikated changes are possible. Governments will enkorage the removal of double letters, which have always ben a deterent to akurate speling. Also, al wil agre that the horible mes of the silent “e”s in the language is disgraseful, and they should go away.

          By the fourth year, peopl wil be reseptiv to steps such as replasing “th” with “z” and “w” with “v”. During ze fifz year, ze unesesary “o” kan be dropd from vords kontaining “ou” and similar changes vud of kors be aplid to ozer kombinations of leters.

          After zis fifz yer, ve vil hav a reli sensibl riten styl. Zer vil be no mor trubl or difikultis and evrivun vil find it ezi to understand ech ozer. Ze drem vil finali kum tru! And zen ze world vil be ourz!

          • Gezza 11.1.1.1.1

            PS: Two other “gh”-ending words that follow no clear pronunciation rule or pattern when compared to that first list I wrote have just occured to me while I was making a coffee:

            plough, and borough. 🙄

  12. esoteric pineapples 12

    Don't really agree with Jolly's point of view. Unless all New Zealanders become conversant with te reo as soon as possible, the language will be a source of division rather than unity.

  13. Maurice 13

    Are we seeing an Iron Age culture appropriating the mores, language and perceptions of a Stone Age culture and incorporating it in to the whole?

    Is "English" a polyglot mix of everything gathered up over many generations of "colonialism" that is perhaps nearing the end of its run? Is it being – again – continually refreshed by cultural appropriation?

    • Gezza 13.1

      I think Pākehā society has gone well beyond the Iron Age. And Māori societies are really similarly beyond the Stone Age. We are both of us now in the Information Age & the Internet Age.

      However, your question is one that interests me. I sometimes find myself thinking, are TVNZ & RNZ doing the right thing throwing a basically small selection of Māori "stock" words & phrases into their regular English language broadcasts – or does this represent a kind of pidgin Māori-English, somewhat, somehow slghtly debasing both.

      As to whether English is continuing to be refreshed by cultural appropriation, yes, it is. More & more of us are doing the mahi to ensure this happens.

      The most interesting thing for me is discovering that the Māori Language Commission has been diligently & quietly beavering away for some time ensuring that exactly the same thing is happening with Te Reo Māori.

      • Gezza 13.1.1

        Auē ! Dunno where my head is at ! Coffee (kawhi) needed …

        Massive Correction – to my last para above:

        The most interesting thing for me is discovering that the Māori Language Commission has been diligently & quietly beavering away for some time ensuring that English words DON’T just get imported into Te Reo Māori.

        By both transliterating English words into te reo Māori’s alphabet, AND by devising new Māori kupu for English words (eg pouaka whakaata – television set), thus ensuring that te reo Māori – like English – is ALSO an evolving, living, 21st Century language.

        • Maurice 13.1.1.1

          The danger being that this applies to NZ alone and both become incomprehensible elsewhere. Though "Kiwi" English has in some areas already reached that status!

          • Gezza 13.1.1.1.1

            If you mean the danger is that kupu Māori become too liberally sprinkled into Kiwis’ everyday use of Kiwenglish, resulting in our young folk using them wherever they travel overseas – yes, that is a potential barrier to clear communication with other English speakers offshore.

            One doesn’t hear Gaelic Scottish or Welsh conversational words inserted into everyday English usage in the UK, Canada, Australia, USA, Europe or elsewhere.

            The ideal would be for our kids to learn both Māori (as it’s NZ’s native language) AND English (as it’s our – and a current global – lingua franca).

            I don’t know if enuf Māori & Pākehā are there yet – happy for this to happen in all our primary & secondary schools, where it would be most easy for NZ to be quickly developed into a fully bi-lingual country. And there are not remotely near enuf te reo Māori teachers for this to happen now.

            • Maurice 13.1.1.1.1.1

              Many drinkers of Aqa Vitae do say the traditional Scottish Gaelic toast when raising a glass to say 'cheers' is Slàinte mhath which is pronounced slan-ge-var.

              So many expressions and words from the languages of those "colonised" have crept in to English that it is a real lingua franca …. There! A couple of bits of Latinish appropriation also.

              A great big melting pot?

              • Gezza

                In some ways, yes, Maurice.

                But what we don’t do is import the foreign language’s grammar & syntax into English: only the words, or perhaps a short phrase or wholecproverb – the latter two often needing to be looked up via Google to understand by those unfamiliar with the language or the phrase.

                • Maurice

                  Can remember learning far more about grammar and syntax in French class than was ever taught in English. Got the impression that we were simply expected to know as English was our first language but that with French the instruction went back to basics.

                  • Gezza

                    You're up early, M. Whereabouts are you – in NZ or offshore somewhere?

                    Same with me. I just soaked up English language sentence structure, grammatical rules, exceptions, spellings etc by osmosis, thru daily usage.

                    Mum was a teacher. We kids all got gently corrected at home if we made mistakes in English usage, so we all just know instinctively now what is correct & what's not.

                    I had to learn syntax & grammar for French (that I loved) – and also for 2 years of Latin (that I hated, & later dropped for History). That tended to reinforce or remind me about English grammar rules I'd long forgotten.

                    These days – if I correct someone's English, and they want to know what grammar rule they've broken – I have to Google for the answer!

                    Māori's syntax I find difficult to grasp – though it's likely to be just because I speak & learned European languages. One has to mentally let all their rules go.

                    Quite a few people say learning Māori is easy, once you do do that.

                    • Maurice

                      Am in NZ and old ex-night shift insomniac just trying to keep connected during these trying times.

                      Find Te Reo incomprehensible – probably the existing grooves are too deeply ground into my brain

                  • Gezza

                    I'm only yet barely capable of baby steps myself, Maurice.

                    I've sure found it a major challenge. At first it was it was mostly incomprehensible to me, too.

                    But watching fluent speakers on Te Karere & Māori TV made me realise that it's obviously a perfectly useable, learnable language.

                    I sometimes get info from:

                    https://maoridictionary.co.nz

                    and

                    https://translate.google.com/?sl=mi&tl=en&op=translate

                    (choose the Māori option. It pays to use the "reverse translation" [double arrow] option to check, & to make a simpler sentence if each time you reverse translate it gives a different set of words.)

                    And I've started working my way thru this, after I saw it on Maori TV:

                    http://www.tokureo.maori.nz/index.cfm/1,188,0,43,html/Series1.html

                    I'm on to Series 2 now. Good brain exercise, when I'm in the mood. I've got too mentally lazy on retirement. I'll never be fluent, but I like what I'm learning, both the language & what I pick up about Māoritanga too.

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