Apr 8, 2013

Reclaiming names, redneck in Palmy and the Treaty at TDB

It’s not renaming, it’s acknowledging the original names

New Zealanders might be the passionless people. After all, our main islands are named the North Island and the South Island. That says, er, interesting things about the national character. 

After receiving proposals for a name change, the New Zealand Geographic Board is going to “publicly consult on proposals to formally assign official alternative names”. The usual suspects are apoplectic, but they’re misrepresenting the issue. Key words: consult, proposals, alternative. The board’s changes will mean that the North Island and South Island is interchangeable with Te Ika-a-Maui and Te Waipounamu.

This is hardly radical; the islands carried those names for centuries and remain in informal use. Like QoT says, we’re changing the names back not giving new ones. And Marty Mars is right to advocate for the formal restoration of the indigenous names because” they mean something, they have context”. Not radical. Half of the country (if not more) is named in Maori: From Kaitaia to Rakuira, from Remuera to Waimakariri. 26 US states have their names derived from Native American languages (i.e. more than half) and Hawai’i is (obviously) from Ōlelo Hawaiʻi (the indigenous language). Many Australian place names retain their original names while other places retain names derived from Aboriginal languages too.

This is becoming a theme of my writing and feels redundant, but it demands repetition: reclaiming indigenous names doesn't make New Zealand an outlier, to some extent we already are. 

Foot in mouth:

From Stuff:

A suggestion by a Palmerston North city councillor that Maori women be sterilised to stop them smoking in front of their children has outraged councillors and Maori health advocates. 
The comment drew a shocked response from other councillors, and he quickly said he was not advocating the idea.
He also said it was not something he would say to the media.

Repeat: “he also said it was not something he would say to the media”. In other words, I’d say it and sing it in like-minded company. If Councillor Wilson realised how repugnant and inappropriate his comment was shouldn’t he have said that he wouldn’t say it to neither the media nor anyone else? Privately, Wilson will retain his racist views, but cover his redneck in public. Like Marty Mars (who's in terrific form) says, Wilson’s justifications really “mean keeping his private thoughts to himself rather than spewing them in public”. Wilson won’t let the façade slip so easily again, but the ingrained superiority complex will remain.   

Also see QoT (who's in superb form).

The Treaty at The Daily Blog

we’re expected to keep to our agreements – governments are no different. The Treaty doesn’t have a time lapse, an out clause or a guarantee that rednecks have the right to make post-facto decisions about its moral and legal force. The Treaty was created, offered and accepted under the assumption that it would bind the Crown and Maori. It’s a basic question of human decency and the rule of law: if men and women are held to their agreements, shouldn’t society and governments be expected to do the same? If anything, society and governments should be held to a far, far higher standard.

April Fools

A bit late, but see The Chur button. Did anyone fall for it?

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