For work last week we ventured up to Taupō from Auckland. Yes, you read it right – I did say ‘up’ to Taupō (and yes, when you are driving from Auckland). I know this play on words has confused many of my Kiwi mates for years so a very quick and simple explanation in case you feel you are also missing something here.
According to our version of the ‘Big Bang Theory’ in Te Ao Māori (the Māori world) the North Island is a very large stingray. Not convinced? Take a look at the shape! Anyway, as the story goes Maui secured this amazing catch using a magical fish hook made from the jawbone of his grandmother. Hence the name ‘The Fish of Maui’ – Te Ika a Maui. So many of our tūpuna would say they are heading ‘up’ to Wellington (when travelling from Auckland) because they believed they were heading towards the ‘head of the fish’. Or ‘down’ to Auckland (from Wellington) because they were travelling towards the direction of the tail.
But aside from that very quick mythology lesson what was really great to see coming in to Taupō was that there is a genuine effort around town on the local council’s part and many others by the look of things to have the name ‘Taupō’ correctly spelt and represented – with a macron being placed over the ‘ō’.
So with the spelling of Taupō being positively endorsed we just need some real Kiwi determination and commitment to give Taupō a ‘fair go’ and pronounce the name correctly. If you personally struggle with this – try saying ‘Toe-paw’. That’s pretty close! Too easy (Mama noiho)!
So, a big-ups to the local Taupō District Council and the small businesses around town for getting on board the waka and leading the way. A few more businesses and even government departments are yet to follow in their footsteps but great to see this trend is being encouraged. But this is just one of the many strategies we need to be employed to normalise Te Reo Māori in Aotearoa. Another is our award-winning programme Te Reo Tuatahi of course. #takingeveryopportunity
Tumeke Taupō (Awesome Taupō).
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