Home » Audio only » Executive Chair of the New Zealand Maori Council, Manu Paul, on working between languages

Executive Chair of the New Zealand Maori Council, Manu Paul, on working between languages

image credit: TVNZ

Click here to hear a conversation with Maori elder Manu Paul (Ngati Rangitihi tribe), Executive Chair of the New Zealand Maori Council and organic farmer, on working between languages

(left click to listen, right click and ‘save target as…’ to download)

See below for a transcript of this conversation:

Manu Paul: So in terms of language and the indigenousness nature of people it seems to me that what the world needs to know is that language is Poutokomanawa [ridge pole or centre pole] of diversity. Alright? I’m reminded of that song about the 60’s or 70’s “and they all lived in little boxes and they all looked just the same”. Alright?  The message there is that difference is to be lauded. Diversity is to be grasped so that you have a standard to measure yourself against because how else would you know how good you are?

How bad you are? How ethical you are? How moral you are about things unless you can measure yourself against other peoples?  Because you want to measure yourself against other peoples then the language has to be stood up against the Steinbecks, the Hemmingways, the Holatofari. The people who write from experience from, about life, the Shakespeares, Dickens, all those people, because what we have is a concept called CINOELLA CINTEWA. It’s a sense of the all-powerful. The Supreme Being in terms of everything you do. Okay? And yesterday I talked about my PHARHAMIHANO TOMI HOSIE TATATA 0:04:15.4 …In my view was the power to determine ones destiny.  And when you try to determine things you come up against standards set by other people. We have a saying, “KAKACHEYA DE QUO ???” . the quintessence of excellence.  One’s understanding of language is in the nuances and in the rhythmic cadences that lilt and soar, the sounds you make and the breathing that you input into the language.  WHYNOTAKA. So that’s a standard that Maori have. So people open their mouths and I say KOWTOPOKIAKA that came out of the book. Then I hear somebody, very rarely these days, I hear someone and my eyes close and I am lost, not in what they are saying but the way they are saying it. Because the way they say it provides me with a tactile sense of being without the physical nature of the tactile being. So I can smell, I can feel, I can touch, I can hear, I can see as I listen to that speaker. All the things of my life, all the things that I know, they all come crashing back. Language therefore for me, as a Maori, is one of purity. Kia ora, whytickitkipty 0:07:38.4 Nocoquka ….[more Maori – little one speaking back]. And language for me is that it is the hard post of diversity. It’s about being inclusive. So people say to me KOWOKA [more Maori words]. I say well the formal part you want to speak Maori, you want to speak English but I won’t speak English on the marae when those people come there reluctantly, fearfully, so we give them a sense of included, of inclusion. So language is about inclusivity. Language is about recognition. That giving of mana to people and for the first time in their lives they find that people who don’t know them actually recognize them as having qualities that they didn’t think those people would know about them.

Click here to download a .doc file of this transcript


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