Radio NZ hacks go looking for Maori names on births list and – oh dear – see what they found!

January 6, 2015
Sorry, we can't call him Alf...the regulations require he be given a Maori name...

Sorry, we can’t call him Alf…the regulations demand he be called Hone..

Dunno if we are supposed to feel guilty.

But the precious prats at Radio NZ, who relish showing off their Te Reo to an audience comprising many listeners with no inkling of what they are saying, now seems to be rebuking Kiwis for not thinking about indigenous options when they name their kids.

A news item today is headed “Parents overlook Maori names”.

More likely, parents didn’t overlook these names but preferred non-Maori names.

The news item kicks off with a chiding tone:

Maori names are noticeably absent from the top 100 baby names for 2014 with Anglo-Saxon and biblical names proving most popular.


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Let’s go to school with Labour to learn 1+1= 3 and “compulsory” te reo means “aspirational”

July 15, 2014


Alf has never thought of the English language as a cultural treasure.

Rather, it is probably the most invaluable tool in his toolkit as the member for Eketahuna North – an instrument for communicating his profound thoughts to a political audience, in much the same way as a surgeon needs a scalpel, a builder needs a hammer and a road builder needs a bulldozer.

Or a Labour politician needs a leader.

Come to think of it, Alf is putting the English language to good use right now.

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We could be more understanding by learning te reo, but it’s hard to modify your ethnicity

August 23, 2012

Dunno if Vernon Small has been learning te reo.

But he thinks New Zealanders generally should spend public money preserving it.

His reasoning (on page B5 of the Dom Post but not online) is simple –

It is a taonga guaranteed by the Treaty – perhaps the pre-eminent taonga.

Well bugger, Alf muttered on reading this.

Don’t remember that bit of the deal.

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If you won’t be around as a taxpayer for much longer, you can afford to be cavalier about compulsory te reo

November 10, 2011

The headline on a Herald item about Maori Party education policy is a tad misleading.

It says:

Maori Party wants te reo available to all

So what’s new?

Te reo – so far as Alf knows – is available to all now.

The demand to learn it no doubt is not as great as the Maori Party would like.

Too bad. The fact is, if you want to learn it, you can do so. There is no prohibition on the matter.

The fact that not too many people are lining up for te reo lessons, of course, is instructive about what Kiwis want and don’t want.

Even fewer are lining up to learn Urdu.

But wait.

The Maori Party wants much much more than the general availability of te reo classes for those who want to learn it.


The buggers are strong on forcing people to behave as they want them to behave.

And so –

The Maori Party wants to make te reo “compulsorily available” in schools by 2015 but students wouldn’t be compelled to take the subject.

Co-leader Tariana Turia and Te Tai Tokerau hopeful Waihoroi Shortland revealed the party’s education policies at Auckland’s Hato Petera College yesterday.

Mr Shortland said the policy wouldn’t just tell schools they had to be able to teach te reo and then leave them to figure out how. Instead, the party proposed adapting the Ataarangi programme founded by the late Dame Katerina Mataira and make it available to schools.

It would also be underpinned by a three-year recruitment drive for 200 Maori teachers who would be bonded in exchange for scholarships.


A nice little employment opportunity for Maori speakers.

Mr Shortland said it was important to recognise that 95 per cent of Maori children were taught in mainstream educational institutions. This programme could help students become competent by the time they left primary school.

“We want to look at a programme which achieves our aspiration of a wider uptake [of te reo Maori] by the student body. We’ve preached the compulsory thing for years and really haven’t thought too hard about how we’re going to implement it …

“I think this is a practical solution,” he said.

The Education Ministry told the Herald New Zealand had no compulsory subjects in the curriculum.

But it has eight learning areas – English, the arts, health and physical education, mathematics and statistics, science, social sciences, technology – of which seven have to be offered to all students in years 1 to 10.

Fair enough.

Alf has bridled at compulsion since military training was a compulsory matter.

He therefore has overcome a struggle with himself to say he somewhat agrees with Labour’s Kelvin Davis.

Davis is a former school principal who is also standing in Tai Tokerau.

He supports the Maori Party idea.

“I actually think it’s a good idea to be honest. I would love every child in New Zealand to want to speak Maori … but I think if there were compulsion there’d be a massive backlash by unenlightened New Zealanders.”

If Alf heard correctly, a bloke called Terry Dunleavy popped up on Radio NZ this morning to enthuse about the compulsion being promoted by the Maori Party.

It was a great idea no matter what it costs, he said.

It turns out this Dunleavy bugger is in his 80s, and so may reasonably expect not to remain on this earth as a taxpayer for too much longer.

Hence he can afford to be indifferent to the cost.

Alf is much more fiscally sensitive and says cost can not be ignored.

But much more important, he strongly disapproves of compulsion (with some exemptions, such as compulsory stopping at comupulsory stop signs.

Sorry, Sharon, but taxpayers would rather not cough up to fly your relatives to Argentina

May 4, 2011

Maybe she would have been more wary if she had been asked to wear this.

Oh dear. The cash-strapped Government – borrowing $250 million a week for each of us to pay back some time – isn’t throwing the stuff around as generously as some people would like.

In particular it won’t come up with the dosh to ensure the “aunty” of an incredibly stupid woman can fly at public expense to Argentina.

The aforementioned incredibly stupid woman is drug-trafficking accused Sharon Armstrong.

Alf, who is a sensitive soul, would not normally belittle people by calling them stupid, let alone incredibly stupid, unless they support the Labour or Green parties.

In this case he makes an exception because he is talking about a self-confessed incredibly stupid person.

She is the 54-year-old former Maori Language Commission deputy chief executive who was arrested on April 13 after Buenos Aires Airport police found (or claim they found) 5kg of cocaine hidden in her suitcase.

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A lesson in cross-cultural communication from a feller called Hone – Heni Collins should take note

April 13, 2011

Alf learned one helluva good trick for dealing with radio interviewers today.

The trick is to follow up on the interviewer’s introduction by introducing yourself in a language only few listeners can understand, and then – this is the cream on top – to sing a song.

If the song is long enough, a politician could go on for a helluva long time.

Ah, but would Radio NZ let him get away with it?

Well, no, probably, not unless he had a bit of Maori blood pumping through his veins.

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Let’s ask young Maori in Porirua if they want to be forced to learn Te Reo

October 21, 2010

Is Te Reo destined to become extinct, too?

Hats off to Maori Party leader Pita Sharples, who has spoken wisely and sensibly (in English) on the future of Te Reo.

He has injected a much-needed dose of reality into the proposition that New Zealand should have a bilingual Maori-speaking government.

That proposition comes from the Waitangi Tribunal. Accordingly it will be accorded great respect, not because it deserves respect but because Pakeha who challenge it risk being denounced as racists.

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Balancing the supply of te reo with the demand

July 16, 2009

Alf would have thought that if many more Maori wanted to learn te reo, they would be doing so.

The same goes for performing in that language.

Maori leaders – and surprisingly many non-Maori – think otherwise.

They are always looking for ways of forcing the language on the rest of us and of boosting the numbers of Maori language speakers.

Dunno how much time, effort and public money goes into this drive.
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Critics chide Maori TV over its language

May 11, 2009

We legislators are expected to clean up all sorts of messes. But bugger me – now we are being asked to clean up the langague on Maori TV. Or improve te reo standards. Or something.

At first blush, Alf can’t see why Maori TV viewers should be legislatively entitled to higher linguistic standards than viewers of other TV channels.

Accordingly he will need serious convincing of the gravity of this issue. How will our society be improved if Maori TV has a higher quality of language than other TV channels? Or might it actually be harmed, if Maori TV viewers are getting a better deal from their TV broadcasters than the rest of us?

The prospect of his having to look into this matter was drawn to his attention by the Herald today:
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