NZR helps mental health Ma¯ori names mangled
NZ Rugby has stepped up its campaign for mental health, offering players, parents, coaches, referees, volunteers and fans a way of getting information about mental illness.
NZR education manager Dr Nathan Price said New Zealand had sobering statistics around mental health. One in five Kiwis experience mental illness each year, and youth suicide rate is also one of the highest in the OECD.
Many rugby players fell into the ‘‘highrisk category’’ of mental health and suicide risk. The majority of players are young men, and 75 per cent of mental health issues started before the age of 25, he said.
Crusaders halfback Bryn Hall, 25, said injury was an inevitable, but devastating, part of the game that often pushed players into dark places.
‘‘People think rugby players are bulletproof, but with an injury, you start second-guessing yourself and thinking ‘am I going to come back from this’?’’
Hall, who missed the 2015 rugby season with a broken foot, spent 14 ‘‘frustrating’’ weeks on the sideline.
‘‘It’s hard because all you want to do is be out there but you can’t.’’ Abbreviations of Ma¯ori place names such as ‘‘the Naki’’ might be a sign of affection but it changes their specific meaning, says a linguist.
Massey University linguist Tony Fisher of Massey University said describing the likes of Mt Maunganui as the
Mount, or Hamilton as the Tron, was an act of endearment for English speakers.
‘‘But the problem is when Pa¯keha¯ do that with Ma¯ori place names, it’s taking a different culture and applying the same rules we apply within our own language.’’
For example, Paraparaumu: ‘‘parapara’’ means ‘‘scraps’’ or ‘‘gifts’’ and ‘‘umu’’ means ‘‘earth oven’’. But shortening it to Pram is nothing more than a child’s stroller.
Ma¯ori-language teacher Dennis Ngawhare said Ma¯ori place names told a story, described a resource, or recognised an ancestor. For example Taranaki referred to a tribe, the region and its maunga.
Alterations or bad pronunciation ‘‘hurts our ears’’. – Brittany Baker