A lesson in the art of hyphenating to create a new word with a special meaning for Maori students

November 30, 2013

When is a university not actually a university?

Perhaps when you call it an indigenous university, but to be really sure you aren’t deceiving anybody, you throw in a hyphen and call it an indigenous-university.

Alf bristles at this misuse of the hyphen and is tempted to lodge an official complaint about the serious debasing of his taonga, which – of course – is the wonderful English language.

But the temptation is a fleeting one. Whereas we are supposed to take great care to protect the taonga of our indigenous people, few people would pay any attention if Alf was to grumble about a mischief being done by anyone to his culture and cultural treasures.

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