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(RealClear)   New Zealand no longer refers to its two islands as "this one" and "that one over there"   ( divider line
    More: Cool, New Zealand, South Island, North Island, Maori  
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6141 clicks; posted to Main » on 10 Oct 2013 at 10:33 AM (3 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»

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2013-10-11 01:59:40 AM  
1 vote:

Day_Old_Dutchie: Te Ika-a-Maui -- the fish of Maui (a Maori god) -- for the North.

Not the fish that comes back when you throw it?

Everyone who was born in New Zealand knows pretty much all the legends of Maui.  He's like a combination of all the Greek heros.  He stole the secret of fire from the gods, slowed the sun, and crawled up the vagina of the goddess of death in an attempt to get immortality for humankind.  That's a great story, she caught him because a bird laughed at him, which woke the goddess up, and she crushed him to death between her thighs.

In the legends of Maui, the South Island was the waka (canoe) of he and his brothers.  He fished the North Island from the sea using a fish hook made out of the jawbone of his grandmother (which he also used to beat the sun into submission).  His jealous brothers cut up the fish, resulting in the hilly, rolling landscape of the North Island.

ChrisDe: Instead of correcting the oversight and naming them "North" and "South", which they eventually did, they needed "a long public consultation"? With politics like that, they should have just called them the United States.

Naming things in NZ is serious business.  Really, really serious business.  They took the pussy way out by saying "both, both is good!" because they remember the uproar when they renamed a couple of mountains ("back" to what was claimed to be their original Maori names).

There were death threats over renaming Wanganui to Whanganui.  Which was a ridiculous kerfuffle born of the fact that in "Queen's Maori" "wh" is pronounced "f" but in the area Wanganui is in, it's just pronounced plain "w".  Since Maori had no written language, white people had spelt the damn place as it was pronounced by the locals.  But the "main" "official" Maori dialect standardised spelling of the same word would be "Whanganui" pronounced "Fanganui".

Basically this was the equivalent of some folks insisting "Arkansas" be renamed "Arkansaw" and everyone getting really angry over it.
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