Mum Says Teachers Are Disrespecting Her Maori Heritage By Shortening Her Daughter’s Name
A Māori mother is furious at her daughter’s childcare teacher for shortening her name without permission. The five year old’s name was shortened for being “too hard to pronounce.”
Taking to Facebook to voice her anger Paris says her daughter has a beautiful name and she’s saddened that in this day and age people can’t make more of an effort to pronounce it. The staff informed her that they would be using “Rangi” to refer to her five year old daughter Mahinarangi Tautu. But the Ngāti Raukawa woman said she “will not let this happen” as it doesn’t respect and honour her daughter’s Māori heritage.
“Can you imagine your child being too embarrassed to say their name because people won’t make a decent effort to pronounce it properly?” she said after her daughter told her she’s too embarrassed to correct them.
“It made me so angry, especially because they’d use te ao Māori resources in her classes.”
The mum is determined not to let the same thing happen to her daughter’s name that happened with her ancestors.
“My ancestors changed their original name from Perepe-Perana to Phillips because of colonisation,” Tautu told the NZ Herald. “I will not let something similar happen with my daughter.”
Meaning “moon in the sky” the mum says that by shortening it it takes away it’s “mana”- the Maori belief of an inherited spiritual power.
It’s believed that by not giving someone the mana their name deserves takes away the significance of its meaning and can be seen as a lack of respect.
“It’s important for our kids to be confident in their names, regardless of their ethnicity,” Ms Tautu said.
“Our language isn’t complicated, pronouncing a name properly is massive to us. Your name is your identity. Your parents give you your name for a reason.”
Commenters on Paris’ Facebook post were quick to support the angry mama and criticised the daycare staff for their lack of sensitivity.
“Too lazy to pronounce … my kid’s school refuse to pronounce their Maori properly too, done on purpose every time, I cringe because it is sooo disrespectful,” one wrote on Facebook.
“Good on this mum for taking a stand,” another said.
“That teacher needs to step up and learn just as her students are expected to do, lead by example,” someone else wrote.
While one said: “This is wrong. the teacher needs to wake up.”
What do you think? Has this ever happened to you?