Thursday, June 28, 2012

Metro July 2012 Issue - another cracker

I have lived in Auckland since 1978 and I love the place. One of our great assets is our monthly city magazine, Metro. When it arrives in my post office box each month I return to my home office and pretty much write off the rest of the day reading it from cover to cover. That happened today with the arrival of the July issue.

Among the highlights for me were the book reviews (of course) which include Athfield Architects, Long Halftime Walk,Farther Away, Your Unselfish Kindness, The Darling North, and  A Savage Country. The came Connie Clarkson's guide on where to find the best ribs in the city, Simon Farrell-Green's food pages (including a great recipe for lamb & fig tagine), the restaurant reviews - Ipanema and Kermadec Fine. There is a wonderful eight page story from Russell Brown (he of Media7 fame), called Pasifika, Mon Amour, a guide to the NZ Film Festival, a variety of reviews across the arts, Wallace Chapman's The Local Look, and a helluva lot more besides.
Perhaps the story that most struck home to me as a long-time Ponsonby resident though was Josie McNaught's thoughtful story about the Rob Roy Hotel at the foot of Franklin Road - the story is headed Heartbreak Hotel and in it she questions why the council has created a wasteland between one of our loveliest parks and and one of our most gracious old buildings. This is compulsory reading for all Aucklanders who care about their city.

Well done to Editor Simon Wilson for another highly readable appealingly designed issue, who has really hit his straps in this role, and also to his talented team.

I was especially interested to read the following from long-time Maori/English dictionary compiler P.M.Ryan which Metro has kindly allowed me to reproduce.

Good words
Te Wiki o te Reo Maori: July 23-29 is Maori Language Week.

I was born in 1928 and sailed for New Zealand on December 10, 1953. It took us six weeks to get here. I was on a Dutch emigrant boat because it was hard to get a passage in those days.
Learning the Maori language and customs was always the priority of the Mill Hill Missionaries. My first posting was in the parishes of Northland. I was just so lucky to meet people who helped me in my early days, people like Lemi Morrison (uncle to Howard) and Pirihira Ngarangi, the kuia who looked after the presbytery in Panguru. She wrote my very first sermon in Maori, all about stealing (her niece Theresa’s guitar had recently been stolen).
In 1961, when I started teaching at Hato Petera College, about a third of the students were native speakers who knew more than I did. I looked on the job as being a coach — the athletics coach doesn’t have to run the 100 metres, but he can help the champions do it.
I was relieved when Heinemann published the 68 pages I had laboriously typed on a micro-typewriter for the pupils of the college. A lot of the teachers were finding it useful. I don’t think I’m particularly good at languages but I’m a good mimic. The dictionary is something I’ve just kept adding to, page after page.
The main stumbling block for Pakeha or anyone else who has not grown up speaking Maori is the pronunciation of vowels. Correct vowel sounds are essential and will come only after practice.
In Maori, the distinction between nouns and verbs is not as sharp as in English. Even a noun can have a passive ending. For example, matapihi (window) can become matapihi-tia (windowed), so you have to use your imagination: something active was done in or about the window, like climbing through it instead of entering by the door.
I’ve tried to include all the modern words reintroduced into the language by Taura Whiri i te Reo Maori. There are some words I abhor and which are just imitations of Pakeha greetings, like “morena” and “ata marie”. Would you go around saying “peaceful morning” as an English greeting?
I’ll only begin to use them when I hear Pakeha people copying the Maori greeting and saying, “May you have your health” for their morning greeting. I think kia ora is a wonderful saying, it’s almost tapu; it echoes the words of St Paul: “May you have life and have it more abundantly.”    P.M. RYAN

An updated and revised edition of Father Ryan's The Raupo Dictionary of Modern Maori is being published by Penguin Books on 2 July. It is a substantial hardback with an rrp of $59.99.
It contains over 50,000 entries divided into Maori/English and English/Maori sections.
It incorporates an easy-to-use guide to the pronunciation of te reo Maori and even contains a Maori proverbs section complete with translations and interpretations.

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