Tamati Coffey’s ‘triumph’, why Te Reo week creates such friction & Labour’s empty gestures


Like most Gen Xers growing up in NZ as a kid, I had very few opportunities to learn Maori or even understand my own country’s history.

I think we did more skipping for heart health than learn our own nations truth.

Even as a kid however, I always had a deep dislike for authority (probably driven by all that fucking skipping) & saw most official versions of history as the lies of the victors so my own natural intellectual curiosity drove my own exploration of the historic grievances of our country. I learned about the history we don’t mention, the appalling manner in which the Colonial Government passed laws specifically to steal land from Maori and never pay it back. The Treaty always seemed like a beautiful idea whose promise was never realized and the injustice of which helped explain the current inequalities between Pakeha and Maori.

For me the Treaty held an intense truth of Egalitarian expectations, America held their truths to be self evident, in NZ we said the Crown’s obligation was to ensure the self sovereignty of all citizens.

I was smitten by the whole idea.

When I was 18 I had a terrible car accident that left me with a brutal head injury that damaged the area of speech in my brain and even to this day I will mangle pronunciation of a word without realizing I’ve done it. It always made me very self conscious of speaking Te Reo because in the ultra woke now mispronunciation equates to disrespect and some jumped up little Wellington pronunciation Nazi will leap on you and accuse you of cross burning racism.

I have enough week to week cancellations by the Woke for having independent thought, so I have no interest in painting a larger target on my back, but I always believed passionately that the gift of Te Reo was a birth right of every child so I ensured my daughter was enrolled in Maori immersion education and when she speaks Te Reo, I have to honestly tell you, it makes me feel more like a New Zealander than any other thing, I tear up, I really do.

The problem with Te Reo, and why it causes so much cultural friction is of course the unpalatable truth that barely anyone speaks it…

TDB Recommends NewzEngine.com

Māori language likely doomed, despite recent uptick in speakers – study

Unless drastic measures are taken the Māori language is doomed to die off with thousands of other languages with few speakers, new research suggests.

Te reo Māori, listed by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization as ‘vulnerable’, is only proficiently spoken by around one in 100 New Zealanders. Another 2.7 percent are able to hold a basic conversation, according to census figures – all up that’s around 185,000 people.

…so maybe 5% are fluent?

That’s why the cultural backlash is so vocal, 95% have little idea of what is being said.

I also find the brown washing of Government agencies elitist bullshit, sure you might have a Maori name and Maori logo staffed with bureaucrats who do the pronunciation and pronouns perfectly, but you are still damaging people with your neoliberal baseline values!

Which brings me to Tamati Coffey’s ‘triumph’.

…while I’m all for making Te Reo more accessible, I can’t get excited about this when the basics are being utterly ignored.

The housing crisis, 24000 on emergency housing wait lists, 190000 kids in poverty and a yawning chasm of inequality are all screaming for immediate attention and what do we get from this Government?

Bilingual elevators.

It’s a bit like the Maori Party launching a petition to rename NZ as Aotearoa, sure let’s do that but let’s not pretend that materially changes the quality of life for the hundreds of thousands of vulnerable people who can’t make ends meet.

I fear this is now the norm for Labour, their inability to get meaningful change past the Wellington bureaucrats has been bypassed for empty gestures and woke virtue signals.

Hungry children can’t eat bilingual elevators.


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  1. Katniss Bradbury continues to learn the truth about District 13.
    Meanwhile we aren’t holding covid patients for their full 14-day stay because of (wait for it) capacity constraints.
    Guess which news story the feckless will cover of the 2…..

    Forget Aotearoa as a name change – let’s call it what it is………New Zimbabwe.

    • 100% Frank.
      And middlemore hasnt been testing all patients for covid despite several cases and Auckland in lockdown number 4 for 4 weeks.
      Oh and the mob has got covid.

    • I see you are a professional economists online economists . New Zimbabwe, that’s cute. It’s almost like no one’s herd that joke.

      It’s weird tho. The people who benifit from suppression of te Reo, the Wealthy land owners, rich people. They won’t accept you, Frank. I’m just being Frank myself, I mean what do you think they’re doing with all of your cleverness?

      • How do people benefit from the suppression of Te Reo? That doesn’t make any sense whatsoever – we spend millions and millions on a language that as mentioned above maybe only 5% of our population understand. Where is the benefit or even the suppression?

        I do wonder how many houses could be built or how many extra teachers could be paid with this money.

        • It’s absolutely absurd to give Maori 1% on the dollar settlement money and be like your language isnt good enough for you, Maari’s. It is absolutely the responsibility of the wealthy and privileged to revitalise Te Reo. In other words, one, plus, one, must always at the very least, be eqial

    • Well Qanon has finally made it to N.Z. Fucking wah wah wah, if you don’t like it, fuck off to Afghanistan Frankie, KCO, raise the IQ of both countries.

  2. Mmmmm, it’s almost as if a small country in the global neo-liberal era has absolutely no control over the things that matter.

    Regardless of who’s “in charge.”

  3. Maybe a bachelor of communication enables one to find a multitude of smokscreens to hide behind and a myriad of carpets to sweep the real issues under 😉

  4. So I’m picturing the Beehive lifts, I’m standing in the foyer and need to go to Level 3….
    The numeral 3 (for Level 3) is now in maori. That’s good, that helps. (Big ups to Trevor: his greatest achievement beside the 500K playground nobody uses and the ‘I destroyed someone’s career by calling him rapist’ story).

  5. Yeah the correct pronunciation thing seems like an Aotearoa re brand of the era of the right voice/accent for radio and television a few decades back.

    As to the impact on people and behaviour there is a SCOTUS Justice called Clarence Thomas who writes notes so others can ask questions for him – he’s that embarrassed about his “Creole” accent.

    • As someone with a French name, should I cringe whenever someone mispronounces Paris, or my own name? No, I don’t give shit because I’m not that precious

  6. Language, pronunciation, accent, even spelling change quite drastically over time. Even now if a NZer rings you on the phone you can often tell their approximate age range simply by the variations in their accent, our accent has changed that much even over a few decades. So to me all this emphasis on language is a little bit of a waste of time, when the essential requirement of language is actually communication, not culture. There is a very high likelihood that a modern kiwi transported back to 1840 would have difficulty understanding the accents of either the Maori or British people at that time, and anyone taken forward 200 years may well be amazed at how the kiwi accent may sound then.

    I think the majority of us have ancestors who spoke languages we cannot understand, and it does not really matter. If we insist on traditional sentence structure, grammar, pronunciation etc (Maori or English) over modern communication it just serves to drive us apart rather than bring us together. English is not the language of my ancestors but it’s the only one I’ve got and one of the most useful languages for international communication so I’m happy with it. The current form of woke Govt gets excited about bilingual lifts, a future Govt of a different political leaning might get excited about ‘correct’ English or some other future ‘woke’ issue. It’s all BS unless it brings us closer together.

  7. As a GenX’er. We’ve been fuck’d by boomers & Mel’s. Stuck in the middle. The forgotten middle kid.

    So, I suggest we get to have a language of our own. It’s already established but frowned upon. I don’t know why but …. Profanity is good! Fuck expresses so many feelings! It’s descriptive and a fuck’n useful adjective, noun, verb! Who the fuck hasn’t used it!?

  8. Tamati Coffey, the dude who lost his seat during an election in which Labour cleaned up and gained full majority. Losing to the National dude and the Maori Party dude. Nuff said. He is as useless as tits on a bull .

  9. Yes Te Reo in the lifts at the Beehive…….it reminds me of when I was asked to sign a petition to keep what was supposed to be Kate Shepherd on the crossing signs instead of the green man (around Lambton Quay)..

    I just thought what a pathetic gesture. I want a big bloody stature I’d KS at parliament

  10. The actual percentage of the population that is fluent in te reo māori, that is, able to express themselves naturally in all facets of life with little difficulty, is probably something like 1% or lower. The additional 3% who report being able to have a basic conversation in the language relies on self-reporting, meaning that there are no doubt people whose definition of a ‘basic conversation’ falls short of being able to understand substantive content in the language.

    Meanwhile, the enthusiasm to use māori for symbolic purposes is higher than ever, even if a great many of its proponents do not understand the language themselves. The insistence on demonising those who do not use macrons in writing (even in English) is a great example of this.

    Mā te kōrero ka ora te reo – The language lives by people speaking it. No amount of changing government department names or bilingual lifts will matter if it is not able to get people to actually speak the language when it counts. Sure, exposure does make people more familiar with the language. But unless that puts them in a position to speak it, it does not in and of itself contribute much to maintaining māori as a living language.

  11. How many languages have become extinct or lost in the annuals of time over the past 150 thousand years? Well one estimate is over 30,000 languages have been lost. If a group of people want to protect their language then they should speak it but it’s not up to others, who have no interest in it, to have it forced upon them.

    Btw I say this as some honky (as I was called) who did learn quite a bit of Maori, long forgotten, as well Maori weapons training, ironically remembered.

  12. People came from afar to live in New Zealand when Maori was the only language.
    People came from all over the world to live in New Zealand when Maori was still the native language.

    If people in this land get pissed off with hearing ‘kia ora’ they should go back to where they came from or where their ancestors came from.

    At the moment it looks they came here to create a society which has lots of poverty and intolerant short-sighted grizzlers.

  13. I was inspired as a kid by the words of a western traveler who observed the Native Americans of different tribes sitting for hours in silence and having long conversations in sign language because they spoke different languages, so it is now on my bucket list to learn NZ sign language after lock down. Every time I see those 1pm briefings those guys inspire me more.

    I cant think of anything better than to shut up, not make a bunch of noise and to communicate in silence!

  14. Yeah my pronunciation is shit for the non educational reasons, sympathy for you bro you have had some hard knocks in your early life. Really loved hearing about your daughter, yeah that’s great.

  15. Here are some statements worthy of translation.

    “Housing Windfall: For the “team of 5 million” mentioned so frequently with Covid-19 this equates to about $65,000 each”.

    “Dec 2019 the value of housing stock was $1.188bn. March 2021 since the pandemic hit the value of housing stock increased by $324b.”

    “In January 2020 the median house price in NZ was $612,000. By August 2021 it was $850,000. Prices are up 25% in the last 12 months.”

  16. The big problem here is that the Maori are suffering within recent history what Europeans suffered millennia ago. The theft of their land by the rich and powerful, along with the commensurate impact on their quality of life. I guess Europeans have had time to adapt to the capitalist system of being taxed just to live somewhere. Either through rent or a death pledge (AKA mortgage). Both of which transfer wealth from the majority to the minority.

    I fear that what little of their land the Maori receive back they will have to sell to cover the cost of two centuries of disadvantage and just to pay the bills – just like the monstrous development in Shelly Bay, Miramar, Wellington.

    Land reform (for all) is the central plank of all true democratic struggle which is why the ruling classes fight it so aggressively.

    N.B. House prices have not gone up by that much, maybe 15% (inline with immigration). The truth is that the government is reducing everyone’s wages. Guess why the government is happy for the middle class to think the former and not realize the latter?


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