What’s in a name?

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By AN­DREA O’NEIL

They might be in their 70s and 80s but Ngati Toa kau­matua were gig­gling like school chil­dren as iwi mem­bers met to cel­e­brate their el­ders.

Forty peo­ple gath­ered at Taka­puwahia Marae on Fri­day morn­ing for an hour of story telling and song.

Ev­ery­one re­counted the his­tory of their names.

A com­monly re­called me­mory was Pakeha be­ing un­able to pro­nounce Maori names at school decades ago.

Many spoke of their pride in re­claim­ing their Maori names in adult­hood.

Dinny Rangi­haeata did not re­alise he had a full Maori name un­til he saw his name on the school roll. He ques­tioned his mother who said as a tod­dler he sat in his high­chair call­ing for his din­ner – ‘‘dinny’’ – so that’s what they nick­named him.

Mr Rangi­haeta said it was strange to have reached kau­matua sta­tus, now older than his par­ents ever were.

Roena McCarthy said she had not traced her an­ces­try un­til re­cently and was so em­bar­rassed when un­able to tell peo­ple what her name meant while on hol­i­day in Hawaii that she told them hers was the name of a Maori princess.

Kau­matua are highly re­spected and hon­oured in Maori cul­ture as the repos­i­to­ries of wis­dom and the his­tory of the marae, Ms McCarthy said.

Great Dane: Judy Swain­son en­ter­tained the group with sto­ries of her ma­raud­ing Dan­ish Vik­ing an­ces­tors.

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