Party leader Rawiri Waititi stated, “It’s well past time that Maori was restored to its rightful place as the first and official language of this country. We are a Polynesian country, we are Aotearoa.
“Aotearoa is a name that will unify our country rather than divide it,” Waititi said. “Others are trying to use it as a divisive tool, but this is an inclusive tool, where our ancestors consented to us all living on this land together.”
Further, Waititi claims, “Tangata whenua are sick to death of our ancestral names being mangled, bastardised, and ignored. It’s the 21st century, this must change.”
“It is the duty of the Crown to do all that it can to restore the status of our language. That means it needs to be accessible in the most obvious of places; on our televisions, on our radio stations, on road signs, maps and official advertising, and in our education system.”
But hold on Rawiri, the modern cities and towns of New Zealand do not owe their existence in any way to Maori culture.
So yes, Rawiri, they are an outcome of colonisation.
Colonisation, yes that’s the word that seems to be the demon or dirty word now in Rawiri’s mind.
Colonisation, in the form of hard work and enterprise, created the cities and towns of New Zealand.
Alongside colonists, Maori have lived, worked and benefitted from their existence for generations.
Over the generations, many would have been employed in the various industries that built them and then in the many and various industries that grew them.
What is so wrong with that Mr Waititi?
Why for once do you not acknowledge the huge amount of benefit Maori have derived from colonisation?
Because it does not suit your intolerant narrative does it Rawiri!
There is no political capital to be gained by conceding that colonisation by way of health services, education, law and order (that is a biggy in regards to cannibalism) and infrastructure…well, the list goes on forever!
But it seems the Hamilton City Council have taken up the Maori Party’s mission.
Earlier this year a Hamilton street, named after a New Zealand land wars general, will no longer be after Hamilton councillors voted to rename it.
Von Tempsky Street, named in honour of General Gustavus von Tempsky, will be changed to Putikitiki St, a name that reflects the original name of the area in the city.
Long-time activist Taitimu Maipi, who launched a petition in 2021 to have the name changed, says the outcome of that meeting was significant for Hamilton to no longer have a street named after a member of a “murderous group” of people who led the invasion of Waikato.
“It reminded us of the atrocities that these guys did to our people.”
Well, “Gifting” a Maori name and changing their names will never make places Maori cities; it will just cause confusion and resentment on a massive scale.
But let’s imagine that all the cities and towns, all the place names and all the street names were changed to Maori names.
Firstly, think of all the internal costs (every road sign or street sign replaced) and then try to get your head around all the international costs (Google Maps, sat nav etc).
Secondly, every tourist coming to New Zealand (remembering tourism was our biggest export earner before Covid) is going to be totally confused – and don’t forget that 1.3 billion people speak English either as a native or second language. Imagine the logistics of trying to teach the whole world all our new names – in a language the world is not familiar with.
On top of this, there is the problem that only 3% of Maori speak Maori!
But what about this: in April 2021, the Advertising Standards Authority of New Zealand upheld a complaint against a radio advertisement that mispronounced the Maori place name, Rangiora. The complaint was upheld on the basis that the mispronunciation was disrespectful, caused harm to te reo Maori and was likely to offend consumers.
Well, the semi-legal precedent seems to have been set; so if all our place names are changed – bloody hell, what a dog’s breakfast that’s going to create!
All the easily offended thin skins are going to be swarming out of the woodwork and having a field day!
So, what really is your goal Mr Waititi?
Do you want to destroy New Zealand as we know it?
Do you want to destroy all of the advantages that colonisation has brought to all New Zealanders?
Is that going to benefit Maori Mr Waititi?
No! Of course not.
I think it is simply a political stunt to say – LOOK AT THE STRENGTH WE HAVE. LOOK AT THE INFLUENCE WE HAVE. LOOK HOW WE CAN MAKE CHANGES.
All a big charade to garner votes for the Maori party!
Power, the politics of language and the naming of places are all closely related.
As the old saying goes, “The namer of names is the father of all things”.
John Porter is a citizen, deeply concerned about the loss of democracy and the insidious promotion of separatism by our current government. This article was first published HERE