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Kapiti Cabbages and Kings
May 2017
By Martin Warriner
A version of the Kapiti sign by Martin Warriner

The following is an Opinion piece from Martin Warriner


How very worthy of Mayor Gurunathan to "think it's a good opportunity to stand out" for Otaki township gaining bilingual status. I encourage the Otaki residents and all New Zealanders to insist our Mayor and Councillors ensure that Bilingual Signs are correctly portrayed.
As a starting point would be the large, prominent road sign on SH1 heading South into Otaki which needs to show the District in both te reo Maori and NZ English.
If our misguided Council believe that the place Kapiti has a macron over the "a" then, for correct bilingual spelling, the sign must also show "Cabbage". According to various Maori dictionaries, this is the only English translation. The identical sign, heading North into Paekakariki, also needs updating.
Mayor Gurunathan says "we need to be unique". This would certainly put Kapiti on the map both Nationally and Globally. What a boost for tourism!
Fortunately, I am not so gullible and will continue spelling Kapiti Island (it's full name in Maori is "Te waewae Kapiti o Tara raua ko Rangitane") correctly without a macron.
For those who are interested in NZ cultural heritage, "Te waewae Kapiti o Tara raua ko Rangitane" translates in NZ English as "the boundary between Tara and Rangitane" and Kapiti is an abbreviation of that full Maori name. Tuteremoana, a famous tino ariki or high chief of the Ngai Tara, Rangitane and Ngati Awanuiarangi tribes has a peak at the northern end of Kapiti named for him, and his wife was buried in "Te Ana-o-Wharekohu", a cave named after her at the southern end of the Island.
Mayor Gurunathan and Councillors should put their skills to better use in doing research and stop insulting us by incorrectly insisting we live in CABBAGE.


 
Comments
Rukingi Richards (added 3 weeks ago)
How interesting it is that myths can be easily perpetuated by hear‐say. Presumably Liz Koh has seen the historical information and evidence from local iwi that she refers to in her comment? What a pity local iwi are unable to produce this historical data for the community to see. If, according to local iwi Kāpiti is a variant form of āpiti, meaning “to put together” or “place side by side” then presumably Liz can explain why local iwi placed a “K” in front of this word and thus changed it’s meaning into “CABBAGE” as confirmed by The Maori Language Commission? The truth is, local iwi do not have any historical evidence showing this place name contains a macron. They refuse to make an application to the New Zealand Geographic Board for a macron to be inserted into the place name Kapiti because they never expected a concerned resident (Martin Warriner) would question their understanding of te reo Maori and the history of New Zealand. Either produce the evidence or stop inserting a macron into this iconic place name.
Liz Koh (added 8 weeks ago)
The purpose of the macron in the Maori language is to indicate a long vowel sound. Official response of the Maori Language Commission (Te Taura Whiri te Reo Maori): "Concerning whether or not the ‘a’ in kapiti is macronised, examples found in both the Williams dictionary and the corpus only includes instances of kapiti being spelt without a macron. So the initial response had to be there is no macron in kapiti. Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori is aware however that local iwi of the Kāpiti region have their own variation of Kāpiti as a place name. Local iwi have historical information and evidence including local pronunciation that gives effect to Kāpiti with the macron as correct, and as such Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori also endorses this spelling. According to local iwi Kāpiti is a variant form of āpiti, meaning “to put together” or “place side by side”."
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