My complicated relationship

with te reo Māori

When I was around five years old, my Māori father asked if I would like to learn to speak his language. I declined.

When he asked me why, since I seemed happy enough to speak my Pākehā mother’s tongue, I said that it was because it “sounded funny”.

There’s a part of me that knows that it is pointless to feel guilty about something that you said when you were five. But there’s another part of me that wonders how things might have been different for me if I’d been less spooked by the notion. If

 we had shared a common bond in the form of te reo Māori, would my father and I have been closer? Would we have had more to say to each other? Would I have grown to be more confident in my “Māoriness”? I suspect so, but my Dad died when I was 22, so . . . what do I do with that?

Link to article: My complicated relationship with te reo Māori - E-Tangata


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