Friday, July 25, 2008

Te Wiki O Te Reo Maori

Maori language week was a while back now. While it was on I wanted to write a post about it. But I struggled with writing anything, since I don't speak Maori and I was worried about tokenism. But I really liked hearing more Te Reo, and had learned stuff through other people's tokenism. I even thought about giving my blog a Maori name, but didn't.*

But I've just realised what I was wanting to say. There was an air of self-congratulation. TV3 had a piece in Maori about Air NZ using more Maori words in their flights, and they might as well had a sign flashing "aren't we awesome" down the bottom, instead of the subtitles.

If you imagine back forty years ago, what happened last Maori language week, would have seemed incredible. But it's not the companies, and media outlets who deserve the back slapping that they're giving themselves. They didn't do this randomly, out of the goodness of their heart, but because of the unbelievably hard work that activists had put into fighting for Te Reo.

It is the work of those activists that should be remembered and celebrated, not just one week a year, but all the time. And the way you remember and celebrate the work of activists, is to carry it on.**

*I couldn't find a word for 'capitalism' in any of the on-line Maori dictionaries. I considered substituting Raupatu, as the necessary precursor for capitalism. But my blog is named after a random Joss Whedon quote, it doesn't make any sense in English (except for the extremely geeky), translating it would be useless. Plus there was the tokenism thing.

** On a complete tangent, which isn't big enough to get a blog post of it's own, but was annoying enough to write about. I went to see the documentary about Tigi Ness in the film festival. It was interesting, and included the famous footage from Dominion Road at the third test in 1981 where everyone stands up and starts throwing stuff at the police. Anyway this younger guy who was talking "they stood up, they fought back so we didn't have to." Which I found immensely frustrating, and completely the wrong way of looking at the history of activism. They stood up, they fought back, and so we have to honour them by continuing the fight.


  1. Anonymous8:22 pm

    Joss Whedon quote? citepls

  2. Well I managled it a little bit. "Fire Bad; Tree Pretty" Buffy to Giles Graduation Day Part two.

  3. Hah, that be awesome! Much more interesting than mine.

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