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My Time in Hamilton is Slowly Comming to an End: Can Time Actually Correct Spelling Mistakes?

Time is something I haven’t mastered yet. It just keeps on  moving, no matter what I do. Sometimes I try to catch it by its tail, but instead of me keeping it back, time just keeps up its paste and drags me along. Or I try to push it forward, but I only stumble then. Today I handed in my last assignment at the University of Waikato, and in early November I’ll have my last exams. Time is moving so steadily; it is telling me that my time here in Hamilton is comming to an end.

Then it will be only twelve more days until Caroline arrives at the Oakland airport. I plan to bridge the time till then by going down to Taranaki (former Mt. Egmond) and Wanganui (or Whanganui), doing a bit hiking and perhaps -- if the weather is good -- even taking a canoe down the river for a day.

Seriously, it is a big issue these days whether that place (Wanganui/Whanganui) should be written with an h or not. Unlike the river name, European settlers spelt the city without an h, which has absolutely no meaning in the Maori language. Now the local Maori tribe wants the h back. The other day there was a cartoon in the Waikato Times of annoyed Maori witnessing the arrival of Captain Cook’s ship and saying: “I have to confess I’m dreading the next 240 years constantly correcting their grammar.”

It seems to be a very sensitive topic. There are angry editorials claiming that the Geography-Board has an anti-European bias in allowing the place name to be turned back into Whanganui. Many Pakeha say that they are annoyed by Maori complaining all the time after all the progress the Europeans brought to them. On the other hand, some Maori (and also quite a few Pakeha historians) claim that the progress was brought to secure Pakeha dominance and Maori subjection.

Personally, I think the h should be restored, even if it costs some money. Since the word Wanganui has no meaning at all, it is simply a Pakeha coinage of pseudo Maori culture. This is an old technique called cultural colonization, and should be tried to be left behind. I think, that many Maori are still struggling to prove their cultural identity, even if they are making progress. Ka Whaiwhai Tonu Matou, that means ‘Struggle Without End’ and is the title of a great book dealing with this whole issue from a Maori perspective.

Mmmh, I wish I could take a k out of my blog name; it was meant to be named keywey, which is how some kiwis pronounce kiwi. But I can’t really change it now, I think. Guess time’s even movement was pushing me when I did that spelling mistake. I’ll just have to colonize the kiwis then by telling them that the real way of pronouncing their name actually is keykwey.


23.10.09 08:51
 


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