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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 8, Issue 8 (December 1, 1933)

A Mutilated Tongue

A Mutilated Tongue.

Not long since, listening to a talk over the radio in which many Maori names occurred, I was not surprised to hear the name of the barque “Manurewa” pronounced as “Man-you-ree-wer.” Most Wellington people put a “mew” into Muritai, a name of beauty if properly pronounced. Lack of knowledge of the elements of Maori is responsible for many ear-grating errors of tongue. The curious thing is that the residents of a place are often the greatest offenders in this matter of pronunciation. Patumahoe, you will hear called Patter-maho, with the “e” dropped and accent on the “ho.” The inhabitants of a place sometimes stare in a puzzled way when they hear, for once in a way, the correct pronunciation. Moera (“Sleeping in the Sun”) is a pretty Wellington City name—it belongs to the steep hill slope where Marama Crescent is, which has been transferred to the new suburb at the Lower Hutt. Out that way the populace call it “Mo-eerer.” I have heard a college lecturer call Te Heuheu “Tee-hew-hew” and Maketu “Ma-keetoo,” and Orakau was transformed inevitably into “Orra-kau.”