Taranaki Daily News - - Opinion -

Mis­pro­nun­ci­a­tion of for­eign names and basic te reo Ma¯ ori at a Napier cit­i­zen­ship cer­e­mony re­flects poorly on New Zealand as a coun­try, an at­tendee says.

Jenny Tutu, from Napier, at­tended the Napier City Coun­cil­run cer­e­mony last week in sup­port of her son-in-law Faitala Se­sega.

But what was sup­posed to be a day of cel­e­bra­tion be­came one of ‘‘em­bar­rass­ment’’ when his Samoan name was mis­pro­nounced, along with oth­ers, as well as basic te reo.

Tutu apol­o­gised to her son-in­law af­ter the cer­e­mony was com­plete and ‘‘felt sorry’’ for him, as he had fam­ily from Auck­land and over­seas travel to at­tend.

‘‘You’re ashamed to be liv­ing in Napier and be­ing a New Zealand cit­i­zen,’’ she said. ‘‘Put your­self in a sit­u­a­tion where you were in a coun­try where the lan­guage they spoke was not your na­tive lan­guage, and you were ... be­com­ing a cit­i­zen of that coun­try, how would you feel? A cer­e­mony and they can’t even say your name.’’

In a re­sponse to Tutu’s com­plaint seen by Stuff, coun­cil gov­er­nance leader Deb­o­rah Smith said she raised valid points.

‘‘As a coun­cil, we are very aware of New Zealand’s unique cul­tural iden­tity. Our coun­cil kauma¯ tua Piri Pren­tice de­liv­ers a karakia [prayer] at the begin­ning of ev­ery cer­e­mony.’’

Her com­ments have been raised with the mayor and would be dis­cussed with coun­cil­lors.

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