NZR helps men­tal health Ma¯ori names man­gled

Sunday Star-Times - - NEWS -

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

Den­nis Ngawhare

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