Archive for the 'Basil Keane' Category

North and South/Te Ika-a-Māui and Te Waipounamu

The New Zealand Geographic Board, Ngā Pou Taunaha o Aotearoa (NZGB) is currently undertaking a consultation process to decide whether to formalise the names North Island and Te Ika-a-Māui (meaning the fish of Māui) and the South Island and Te Waipounamu (meaning greenstone waters). The names, if accepted, could be used individually or together. Our great Te Ara design team has done a mock up that shows what the names might look like together.

Renaming is often a tricky thing, with particularly contentious name changes in the past being Taranaki/Mt Egmont and more recently Wanganui/Whanganui. However, the recent announcement sparked less outrage than parody, largely on Twitter.

A large number of alternate suggestions for the North and South islands have appeared, which largely play on Kiwi culture, and my favourites are:

I’ve previously talked about historical names for the North and South islands on this blog. Additionally, the NZGB has noted other historical names, both Māori and English, for the North and South Islands in its useful FAQ.

I suspect that when the board makes its final recommendation, followed by a decision from the Minister for Land Information, that it will pass through with a minimum of fuss, save a brief reinvigoration of the hunt to find better alternate names on the #NZislands hashtag.

Aye is for apple

A recent controversy over our own special brand of Kiwinglish has recently arisen as a result of an L & P ad campaign, ‘Bit different aye?‘. One writer wondered if it was, ‘written by either someone Scottish or a pirate, because where I come from, it’s spelled “eh”‘. Saatchi’s, who ran the campaign, responded that they had asked L & P Facebook users whether they preferred ‘aye’, ‘ay’ or ‘eh’. Apparently 3,132 people out of 4,084 voted for ‘aye’. Clearly, the ‘Ayes’ have it.

I prefer ‘Aye’, or its variation ‘ay’, which I was familiar with from seeing it in books as a child. I grew up reading Patricia Grace and Witi Ihimaera, who both regularly wrote ‘ay’ in conversations.  And when I read ‘eh’ as a kid, I wrongly guessed that it was pronounced so that it rhymed with ‘meh‘. On the other hand, I know more than a few people who prefer ‘eh’ over what they consider ‘pirate speak’. Harry Orsman, in his Oxford Dictionary of New Zealand English, recognises all three variations (together with the Māori form, nē?).

In our theme on Daily Life and Recreation, currently in progress, we will have an entry on New Zealand language. That should clarify the issue, aye?

Giant L & P bottle, Paeroa

Malcolm, map man

Malcolm launches the last of the Places entries

Malcolm launches the last of the Places entries

On Wednesday night Te Ara launched its offshore islands entries. This was both a proud and sad occasion for Te Ara. We are proud because the completion of those entries means that we now have the whole of New Zealand covered in our Places theme. This fine collection of accurate, beautifully illustrated information represents a signal contribution to the exploration of this country’s history and culture. The 22 regions covered have been the work of many people, but the person who has overseen it and must take much of the credit is Malcolm McKinnon.

This is where the sadness comes in, because the completion of Places meant that on Wednesday we also farewelled Malcolm, who for nine years, following Claudia Orange’s departure, has been the theme editor of Places. A distinguished historian with an encyclopedic knowledge of New Zealand (and indeed world) history, Malcolm had also been trained as a geographer. He brought those skills to bear on his magnificent reference work, The New Zealand historical atlas (1997), where every one of the 100 plates invites hours of absorbing study. With his mastery of time and place, Malcolm was the ideal person to oversee the Places theme.

He did so brilliantly – writing no less then five of the entries:

  • Bay of Plenty, the very first place, which we launched in Tauranga to an expectant crowd of 11!
  • Manawatū–Horowhenua, which Malcolm made really interesting, thus overturning my Wellington-centred prejudice that it was the country’s most boring region
  • Volcanic Plateau, which attracted particular enthusiasm from the tourist operators of the region
  • Otago, where Malcolm’s Scots heritage came to the fore, and the locals, about 150 of them, just loved the entry at the Dunedin launch
  • Marlborough, in which, as always, Malcolm took the reader expertly from Wairau iwi to wine.

Malcolm also made a huge commitment to the other Places entries. With impeccable judgement he helped choose the authors and then used all his very considerable powers of diplomacy to work with them, checked and read many times every word they produced, wrote most of the captions, took a leading role in selecting resources (working first with Shirley Williams and then Janine Faulknor),  took part in heated debates about the entry colour schemes, and attended most of the launches. Above all, he liberally sprinkled every entry with maps – of geology, landforms, vegetation, iwi locations, military engagements, government boundaries, and inevitably rail lines.  The Places entries reflect his skills on every page.

Nor was this all. Malcolm has been a marvellous colleague in the Te Ara team. He read every entry in all the other themes too, and would draw on his huge knowledge to pick up errors or suggest more felicitous wordings, all expressed in his minuscule handwriting. He was a constant source of information and bibliographic advice to the whole team. He also made special contributions to the Economy and the City theme – where he was the theme editor for the economy part and turned all that scary economics jargon into clear English – and to the Government and Nation theme, where he worked closely with the theme editors, Nigel Roberts and Stephen Levine.

And of course he was our go-to map man. Any Te Ara map went to Malcolm for sign-off, and all of them are very much clearer and more accurate as a result.

I personally have now worked with Malcolm in various roles for some 40 years. I cannot believe that I will not work with him again in the future. I can be a fairly forthright person at times, but I cannot in all honesty remember one serious disagreement over that time; and I can remember countless occasions when I have learnt heaps from him. So thank you Malcolm for your enormous contribution to Te Ara. It has been a privilege and a delight working with you.  Your wisdom, your respect for the truth of time and place, and your human generosity have greatly improved the encyclopedia and made working here so much more enjoyable for all concerned.

The Kīngitanga or King movement

King Tāwhiao, by Gottfried Lindauer (click for image credit)

King Tāwhiao, by Gottfried Lindauer (click for image credit)

It is an appropriate time to promote our recent entry on the Kīngitanga, given that the annual Koroneihana (Coronation) commemoration which attracts thousands from Waikato and around New Zealand each year, has just finished.

The Kīngitanga or King movement has been in existence for over 150 years. The origins of the movement can be found in land tensions of the 1850s where Pākehā sought to buy land from Māori who were increasingly unwilling to sell.  The hope was that a Māori king might be able to bring unity for those Māori attempting to stave off demands for land. From 1853 Mātene Te Whiwhi and Tāmihana Te Rauparaha began the search for a king. The final selection was the great Waikato chief Pōtatau Te Wherowhero.

Pōtatau Te Wherowhero died in 1860 and was succeeded by his son Tāwhiao. His reign was perhaps the most eventful of all the Kīngitanga monarchs.  In 1863 his people suffered an invasion by the Crown, followed by the confiscation of 1.2 million acres of Waikato land. In 1881, Tāwhiao and followers symbolically laid down their arms and declared they would never take up arms in warfare again. In the 1890s the Kauhanganui, the parliament of the Kingitanga, was set up. The iconic Lindauer painting of Tāwhiao with full facial tattoo shows an impressive, chiefly figure.   It was his image that was used on the first banknotes issued by the Crown.

Following Tāwhiao was his son Mahuta, who was king from 1894 to 1912. Mahuta was in turn succeeded by Te Rata, who was king from 1912 to 1933. However, in the first half of the 20th century a dominant figure in the Kīngitanga was Te Puea Hērangi, known as Princess Te Puea. She opposed Waikato men going to fight in the First World War, as King Tāwhiao had stated in 1881 that Waikato would never again take part in war. She was the driving force behind the establishment of Tūrangawaewae at Ngāruawāhia and the partial settlement of Waikato’s land grievances in 1946.

In 1933, King Korokī succeeded his father, Te Rata. Like his father, he was supported by Te Puea during his reign. In 1953 Queen Elizabeth II visited Tūrangawaewae marae and Korokī’s daughter, Princess Piki, took a prominent role in escorting the Queen. In 1966 Princess Piki succeeded her father and became Te Arikinui Te Ātairangikaahu. She was the first Māori Queen and among Waikato people was known as ‘The Lady’. A particular success under her watch was the settlement in 1995 of the Tainui-Waikato claim which was spearheaded by her step-brother Sir Robert Te Kotahi Mahuta. When Te Ātairangikaahu passed away in 2006 she was the longest serving Māori monarch. She was succeeded by her son, King Tūheitia Paki.

The Kingitanga is still a strong force today. As well as the annual Koroneihana, the Kauhanganui parliament continues to meet, and annual meetings are held on marae affiliated to the Kīngitanga which are known as poukai.

Arohatia te reo!

Ko te kaupapa mō Te Wiki o Te Reo ko, ‘Arohatia te Reo’

Ko te tau nei, he tau maumahara i ētahi huritau e pā ana ki tō tātau reo rangatira.

E rua tekau mā rima ngā tau mai i te timatanga o Te Taura Whiri i te reo Māori. Waihoki, e rua tekau mā rima ngā tau mai i te whakatuturutanga o te reo.

Ā, kua toru tekau ngā tau i muri i te timatanga o te kōhanga reo.

Kua wha tekau ngā tau mai i te wā i whakatakotohia te pitihana reo Māori ki te paremata.

Ko te katoa o ēnei he mea tautoko i tō tātau reo. Nā konei i kaha ai te Manatū Taonga ki te tautoko i te reo. Kua whakamāoritia te katoa o ngā haurongo Māori. Hei tauira ko te haurongo mō  Tā Āpirana Ngata. Ka tāea e koe te tuku i te  pukapuka hiko. He nui ngā tuhinga kaupapa Māori kua whakamāoritia i runga i Te Ara.


Arohatia te reo! (Cherish the Māori language!)

The theme for Māori Language Week this year is ‘Arohatia te Reo,’ which means cherish the language.

It is an appropriate theme as this year is an ideal time to reflect on what has been done for te reo.

It is the 25th anniversary of Te Taura whiri i te reo Māori – the Māori Language Commission. It is also the 25th anniversary of Māori being made an official language in New Zealand.

It is the 30th anniversary of kōhanga reo, the first being Pukeatua kōhanga in Wainuiomata.

Finally, it is the 40th anniversary of the Māori language petition.

All of these were key events in supporting the health of te reo Māori. It is probably from events like these that Manatū Taonga – Ministry for Culture and Heritage has been able to produce the Māori language content that it has. We have all Māori biographies from the Dictionry of New Zealand Biography translated into Māori. An example is Sir Āpirana Ngata’s biography, or you can download all Māori-anguage biographies as an ebook. Also, a significant amount of content on Te Ara has been translated into Māori, which can be browsed through here.

Additionally, you can read more on the history of the Māori language on NZHistory.