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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.

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