A couple of weeks ago I was hosting ZB Drive. When it came to the Huddle, one of the panellist welcomed me by saying, “Hello Anaru, how are you”
Unfortunately, I was in a bit of a snippy mood and so I snapped back by saying, “Is Anaru my real name?”
Chill out Andrew, I was just being friendly, said the panellist.
I didn't take it any further but Anaru is not my name. It's Andrew. Not Andy or Drew either, but Andrew. Anaru is a Maori equivalent, but it's not the name given to me by my parents and that I have answered to my whole life.
A lot of people have since praised me for standing up to what they called "wokeness". The liberal obsession with introducing the Māori language into our day to day conversations more and more.
But that's not what I was doing. I was making a point.
It was about mutual respect for the two national languages of our country. If Māori want me to respect their language then they have to respect my language too.
If Māori think they can call me Anaru any time they please, then they can't complain if I decide to call every Hone or Tipene I meet, John and Stephen. And non-Māori can't complain when Māori ask for traditional placenames to be reinstated.
What's sauce for the goose is also sauce for the gander.
So I believe in mutual respect for our two languages but mutual respect for the languages of this state is at a strange moment and it's reflective of our current state of race relations.
There seems to be an irrational and visceral anger at any broadcaster who chooses to spread a little bit of Te Reo through their broadcast. Now, admittedly a lot of the attempts are excruciatingly tryhard, as anyone who has heard Susie Ferguson try to tell the time in Māori will tell you.
But the reactions of some to any Māori interspersed in our news bulletins is positively blood curdling. They're furious at hearing a smattering of an official language. A language that has been heard on these shores for hundreds of years. An official language since 1987.
It's a completely out of proportion fury which I think exposes a deeper animosity towards Māori.
It reached its crescendo when at last week’s meeting of the newly formed Tauranga Ratepayers Alliance. An attendee stood and launched into a standard Māori greeting and was met instantly by jeers and shouts of ‘Speak English’. She said six words of welcome for goodness sake.
I suspect this fury has been fired on by a fear that Māori political power is increasing and more and more they're looking to be in charge of their own affairs. But to be frank a hatred of Māori has been bubbling under the surface for a while and it affects many non-Māori in this country
That crowd was unbelievable, childish, quite vile, shameful to many and, yes, racist. Plus overly sensitive and easily offended just like the snowflakes they despise
Just a request. Could all the Māori language haters just shut up and let the adults do the talking?
You are on the wrong side of history. If you don't like Māori, go somewhere where it's not an official language.