Thursday, January 25, 2024

Roman Travers: What is achieved by Mitre 10 changing the names?

More so than ever, we live in a world where virtually everyone is outraged or offended more frequently.

There’s never been anything wrong with being outraged or offended – the difference in recent years is that we don’t only want to tell everyone who’ll listen about how we feel, we also want to shame the offender into stopping what they’re doing. We want to cancel them.

The offending now extends to products on the shelf at Mitre 10 stores. The offended took issue with the misuse of Te Reo Māori names being used on several of their products.

Mitre 10’s ‘Legacy Brand’ includes products like the ‘Te anau towel ring' which has quickly become the 'Ellesmere towel ring', while the 'Karapiro towel ring' is now the 'Clutha towel ring'.

Another offender was the 'Kaiiwi toilet roll holder' and is now listed as the 'Legacy toilet roll holder'.

Mitre 10 says that the changes they’ve quickly made intend to make the names more culturally sensitive. They identified mid-last year that these longstanding product names needed to be changed out of respect for te reo Māori. This ‘identification’ presumably came following complaints from those outraged at the use of te reo Māori.

I admit that I don’t fully understand the misappropriation of Māori names aspect here. Would some Māori have been as offended if the products hadn’t been toilet and bathroom related? What if the products were new cars or bespoke frilly frocks for a flash night on the town?

What is it with this overzealous policing of the language of our indigenous people when all the time we hear the need for te reo Māori to be used more and in more everyday walks of life?

It’s not as though these products were spotted on the shelf in some village in the UK. If these were seen at ‘John Ramsbottom’s Hardware’ in Northumberland – then I’d agree that would be an issue worth pursuing.

Māori cultural and tikanga expert, Karaitiana Taiuru says that Mitre 10 is correct in thinking the original names were inappropriate. He also says that it’s a little bit surprising that someone like Mitre 10 didn't do cultural audits beforehand.

Cultural audits? Really? When was the last time you thought of conducting one at your workplace? When did cultural audits become a requirement?

Surely seeing the language used as a reminder of the rivers, lakes and mountains of New Zealand is just another way to encourage us all to respect te reo Māori?

This kind of highly offended, over the top cancel culture is not helping to keep the Māori language alive. This is an example of what puts some people off it.

What’s been achieved by this name changing in Mitre 10’s across the country?

Nothing. Although being in the news isn’t necessarily a bad thing for foot traffic through one of our biggest home renovation chains.

Roman Travers has held many roles within radio, TV, and as a voice over artist. This article was first published HERE


Anna Mouse said...

Nothing was achieved except it gave DEI Officer at Mitre 10 a reason to be employed and it made them feel like they contributed to Mitre 10's bottomm line.

We live in an age where it is virtuous to be offended on behalf of others that may or may not actually be offended by things that are not actually in anyway offensive.

Anonymous said...

I am mortified that the names Ellesmere and Clutha are being used so culturally insensitively for such mundane items. These names are ancient and deserve so much more respect. Indeed they are not even NZ names in origin and here is Mitre 10 appropriating them. Please may we see the cultural audit for this renaming.

I kid you not.

Incidentally the makers of Coon cheese in Australia were not allowed to use their own name on their product because it was deemed insensitive. Has there been a cultural audit of everyone’s names?

I have no issue with Maori names being removed as I presume Maori do not use such colonial items. Shame on them if they do.

EP said...

Oh thank you Anonymous. Balclutha born, I am sitting here having Scottish-Colonial conniptions. Shame on the whole bleedin' lot of them!

Anonymous said...

Can I put a question to Anna Mouse - I mean no disrespect, but can I ask if the DEI at M.10 - is white, female, blond, blue-eyed, has a socialist tendency and embraces Maori issues and would ensure that staff employment is on the basis of colour, but not ability - if the answer is YES, then we - in NZ - have become no better than the UK, who actually have Laws to ensure this.

Can we also assume that M.10 is now "partnering" with Woolworths (more so Australia - with their current issues on Australia Day, a wokeness that will rub off on the NZ Branch) - and the eventual "lean toward being totally woke"?

Can we also assume that both M.10 & Woolies/NZ will remove " all and any offensive material, from their shops, before Waitangi Day"?

robert arthur said...

The make work jobs now contrived for maori are wondrous. A myriad consultation and co governace roles. And in any spare time can be a cultural auditor. We have come a long way. I can remember m days off, m suitcase, m p.t., m bugs, etc

Tony M said...

Sorry to be pedantic, and I know that you would have used the word because of its convenience, but Maori is not indigenous to NZ. Indigenous does not mean ‘here first’. Rather, it means, ‘came from no where else’. To use the term to distinguish Maori from other inhabitants of NZ is both factually and logically wrong.

Maori arrived in boats from the north and have DNA originating from the natives of what is now Taiwan. Their language and culture bears similarities with other Polynesian groups. As the Polynesians came south to NZ and not north from NZ demonstrates that Maori as a race is not indigenous. Were the first immigrants who jumped off their canoes in NZ immediately indigenous upon arriving? Obviously not.

I will grant you something however, that those who ‘came from no where else’ are indeed indigenous. Therefore all people, Maori and non-Maori alike, who were born here to multiple generations of New Zealanders are indeed indigenous. My family has been here since 1850 and there is no other nation on earth that allows me to enter or stay without specific and separate legal documentation.

So, either all people born here (and have no other legal place to go) are indigenous or no one is.

Basil Walker said...

So , Te Anau Mitre 10 is now to be referred to as Ellesmere Mitre 10 in Te Anau.

Beth B said...

I am now wondering about the appropriateness of the word Mitre in their name given the obvious connections and connotations to Bishops and Freemasons. With such strong religious and colonial associations how can it possibly pass the "culturally-sensitive" sniff test?

Anonymous said...

These renaming clowns deserve nothing less than ridicule. Too much free time on their hands and nothing truly constructive to show for it.

dvrmcc said...

Maori are not indigenous to NZ but to Hawiki from whence they came approx 1100 years ago.

Empathic said...

Tony M and dvrmcc: Quite right. Captain Cook employed a Polynesian, Tupaia from the Society Islands as an interpreter despite Tupaia never having visited here. The fact that he was able to interpret te reo and understand Maori customs showed how similar Maori culture and language still were to their indigenous origins elsewhere. Claiming they are indigenous to New Zealand is misusing language.

Don said...

The current "Maori" is not a language at all, it is a contrived collection of words doctored to make them sound as if they are of maori origin. Most of them are English words in flax kilts. Why anyone would want to waste time with it beats me. To indoctrinate children with it smacks of child abuse.

Anonymous said...

Question: What would have been the consequences of M10 telling these woke activists (in the words of HRH Princess Anne) to naff awf?
Absolutely nothing, I wager. Te Anau is a place. We The People can use this monika whenever and wherever we like, surely? I can call my cat or my goldfish Te Anau if I wish.
For Maori to claim some sort of mystical connection to everything is their business, but keep your eliteist promos elevating objects to "persona animus" out of our lives. Virtue signaling at its worst.
Proclaiming constantly that we should all aspire to "the Maori world view" means stepping into a world of pagan polytheists, asking "the stars to guide us" and theatrics in painted faces and buttocks while brandishing clubs and spears. In most cultures poking your tongue out is highly offensive. No thanks. Must dash and watch my paint dry.