When TVNZ's Miriama Kamo was a newsreader,
one day, she took the opportunity to do a non-news item on the pronunciation,
in English, of placenames of Maori origin. Now you can find
issues where Whites are racist towards Maoris, but this is one where Maoris
are racist towards everyone else. What the racist Kamo explained to
viewers was that Maoris had feelings about placenames -- i.e. when speaking
English, we should all pronounce them as if we were speaking Maori (One
example might be pronouncing Paraparam -- or "Pram", as it is often
called -- as Paraparaumu, which is very long-winded).
What the racist Kamo did not mention -- and probably does not even realise
-- is that Non-Maoris have feelings too! The Treaty of Waitangi was
signed between Maori chiefs (as Hone Harawira points out, democracy is not
really a Maori thing!) and Queen Victoria of Great Britain. So how is
her name pronounced in Maori? As "Wikitooria", that's how!
There are lots of other examples like this.
Of course, for the racist Kamo, Non-Maoris don't have any feelings!
In Countdown supermarket in Wainuiomata, one day, a child was rude to me,
so I complained to her mother (a Maori). She abused me. Soon a
man (a White) came into the store, saying loudly that someone had called his
wife a "black cunt". I assumed that she had lied to him, and
explained to him that I had said no such thing. Recently I have had
an even worse example of this kind, where a Maori woman butted into an argument
which had nothing to do with her, and told me to "go back where I came
from," which is racist, and then said that she had been here longer than
I had, which is both racist and irrelevant -- as well as probably being untrue.
I replied by saying that she should go back to Hawaiiki.
Later, it turned out that it was being claimed that I had called her something
like a "black cunt", so I suppose that lying Maori women are in
the habit of accusing Non-Maoris of calling them "black cunts",
because it works well, as a tactic!
On the other hand, I can see Education Minister Hekai
Parata's point about pronouncing children's names correctly. When
I was a teacher, I certainly hope I did that. But then, I know a lot
of languages. For the average person, it is totally impossible to pronounce
all names accurately -- in fact, even when they think they are pronouncing
them correctly, they are probably getting them wrong. For example, tone
languages such as Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese, and the relevant West African
languages are an impossible challenge for most Maoris and Whites to pronounce
correctly, and the same applies to South African "click" languages,
and so on and so forth. So Hekia Parata (an extremely able woman) is
not particularly realistic. Some people harass me to find out how my
surname "should" be pronounced, when none of my family pronounce
it the way it was pronounced several generations ago -- and in fact most of
the family don't even know how it was pronounced, and get it wrong when they
try to explain how it was pronounced!