NA TE TARI O TE ETITA
From this week, and coinciding with Te Wiki o te reo Ma¯ ori,
Ma¯ ori Language Week, Stuff
(publishers of the North Harbour News) has introduced macrons (tohuto¯ ) for Ma¯ ori words on Stuff
and in print. Macrons are the horizontal lines above some vowels which indicate a longer vowel sound. As well as showing respect to our Ma¯ ori audience by ensuring our usage is technically correct, adopting macrons will aid pronunciation and prevent mistaken meanings. Including or missing a macron can make a big difference to a word’s meaning. Stuff editor, Patrick Crewdson, said that the arguments against the use of macrons are spurious (‘‘Ma¯ ori wasn’t a written language’’), lazy (‘‘We’re doing fine without them’’), or borderline racist (‘‘It’s politically correct nonsense’’).
‘‘But the world didn’t end when Wanganui acquired an ‘h’, and Kiwi culture didn’t crumble when we accepted the plural of
Ma¯ ori isn’t Ma¯ oris,’’ Crewdson said. And I agree. New Zealanders are mature enough to accept correct usage of te reo Ma¯ ori.