• The best name for the job

    As far as we know the first people in New Zealand were the Māori who arrived around 900 years ago.

    From about the 1700s others started popping up and in 1840 the Treaty of Waitangi was signed between Māori and the British Crown. Fast forward to now and there is guaranteed to be an uproar from the more extreme members of our community any time there's a suggestion, a hint, a whiff, of changing an English language placename to Māori.

    I live near a small town known as Levin. That's usually pronounced like le as the French say the definite article, and vin, as in the first part of Vinnie. The stress comes on the vin part. The name is that of a fellow who had something to do with creating the railway station, but who apparently never visited.

    But the land for the town was given by its Māori owners who suggested it be called Taitoko. That's said rather like tie and tow and co like the first part of cocoa. The stress is on the to part.

    Recently it was mentioned in passing by a city Councillor that perhaps the Māori name could be used. Cue outraged Letters to the Editor.

    Now, something to know is that Māori is written with a reduced English alphabet. The pronunciation is really consistent, and once you know how to say the 5 vowels, and that a macron (the short straight line sometimes used above a vowel) makes the vowel sound longer, you have the pronunciation basically sussed. While there are subtle differences between how the English language says an a sound, for example, and how a Māori person says it, pronouncing Māori is pretty straightforward.

    All of that, along with the fact that I love language and languages and how they sound, is the necessary background to why I laughed at this: Videos teach how to pronounce Indigenous-named plazas [in Vancouver].

    Apparently Vancouver has consulted the indigenous peoples and renamed 2 plazas. (Go Vancouver!) Here I will need to copy and paste and hope this comes out right.

    This is the new name of the giant open space on the north side of the VAG: šxʷƛ̓ənəq Xwtl’e7énḵ Square.

    According to the City of Vancouver, it "refers to a place where a cultural gathering occurs such as a wedding, funeral, naming, honouring, or coming of age ceremony". The name incorporates languages of all three First Nations.

    English speaking folks like me can't even read half those letters.

    This is the new name of the gathering place outside the Queen E: šxʷƛ̓exən Xwtl’a7shn Square.

    It "refers to the Walks for Reconciliation which bring tens of thousands of people to the plaza to walk together in recognition of residential school survivors, acknowledge those that did not survive, and celebrate the work that’s being done to redress this legacy".

    No problem: there are two helpful videos for pronouncing the names. But, guess what! English speaking folks like me can't even say some of those sounds without a heap of practice.

    If the racists have a fit about using Māori placenames in New Zealand, they would die of apoplexy with these Indigenous names in Vancouver.

    In case I haven't made my position plain: I love that Indigenous people are clawing back their heritage and support them in their struggles. I'm currently learning Te Reo Māori and would support all attempts to change placenames in New Zealand to the names that local Māori believe to be appropriate. One of my goals this year is to learn to pronounce all our placenames correctly.

    Now, those videos from Vancouver:

  • Kawau (Pied shag), enjoying a bit of quiet time on the river.

  • A very appealing sunrise this morning.

  • Woohoo. First (frosty) sunrise on the way to mid-summer.

  • Scientists have come up with a new way to figure out how much winter rainfall is going to occur in California - simply check out what was happening near New Zealand over the previous seasons.

    They're calling it the New Zealand Index, and it's more accurate than the previous method of predicting rainfall, which was based on El Niño and has become unreliable due to climate change, according to researchers at the University of California, Irvine.

    There's an Unexpected Weather Connection Between New Zealand And North America

  • This has become one of my favourite recipes: easy and quick to make, delicious to eat. I don’t eat onion so use celery instead. Red lentil, chickpea & chilli soup, www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/3…

  • We went with friends and the dogs today to Whanganui for a glass paperweight making workshop. Afterwards we climbed the lookout tower on Durie Hill. It was a great day!

  • Down at Waikanae Beach this morning I spotted a Kotare, Sacred kingfisher, on some driftwood. nzbirdsonline.org.nz/species/s…

  • I drove 35 Km each way to walk the dogs on Waikanae Beach, visit Russell Nature Reserve to see the flowering Kohekohe and to buy essential supplies. Guess who forgot their wallet! Oh well, 2 out of 3… Now, another 30 Km to get the supplies…

  • A couple of excellent 10-minute videos about Iceland: reforesting, and thermal energy: youtu.be/quHiPpI7n… and youtu.be/3KepmDQfE… . I’d love to visit some day, but it’s a looooong way from New Zealand.

  • This week’s Te Reo vocabulary learning is hard: 4 seasons plus 12 months, each with an alternate plus 7 days, 6 of which have alternates. 41 words, some a bit long. The longest: Whiringa-ā-rangi (November).

  • The Kohekohe tree flowers only once every few years and provides crucial food for native birds. This 4 minute video on YouTube is very interesting: youtu.be/qQ081mpJi…

  • I sometimes wonder why I see huge driftwood on the beach but never in the sea. Today this item bobbing about, too small for a boat, too big for a kayak, caught my eye. Aha! — big driftwood tree. There were a few others nearby too.

  • It was a rare treat to spot these fallen leaves in Manakau this morning.

  • Seeing this enormous Twitter User number leads me to ask: 1] How do you even say that number — it’s way beyond ‘trillion’? 2] How many accounts does each person on Planet Earth even have [theoretically]?

  • Thanks to Sleep Music Delta Waves, www.youtube.com/watch I had a very enjoyable half hour nap. Crucial if I’m to be alert enough to learn in my Te Reo Māori class tonight.

  • Downloading 8GB of files over several hours on our not great Internet connection & recalling that time it took an hour or so to download one tiny postage stamp sized 5-second long video on the 33 baud modem. Such a thrill! Update: oops, poor memory: probably a 300 baud modem.

  • I’ve been a loyal user of Interarchy (Anarchie) for sooooo long — probably 15 years at least, maybe 20. Now I’ve switched to Cyberduck. I became dissatisfied with some interface behaviours and total lack of updates. Then it didn’t do what I needed with S3.

  • I'm learning Te Reo Māori and have compiled an alphabetical list of new words, Kupu Hou. Now I want that list in random order to help with learning.

    A brief search helped: using Terminal on the Mac, first get into the correct directory, then use the sort -R command with -o to write the list out to a file.

    1. miraz$ cd /Users/miraz/Downloads/kupu-hou
    2. miraz$ sort -R /Users/miraz/Downloads/kupu-hou/kupu.txt -o random.txt
    Random kupu hou.
  • Hah, smart watch could reveal your password: www.kaspersky.com/blog/smar… Thanks to @1Password my password is “Command /“ for everything. Have at it bad guys!

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