Kaikohe name change will ‘lift the self-esteem of young people’

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Some of the local iwi in Kaikohe want to change the town’s name back to what they say is the original name, Opango. This has raised somedebate over the original name of the township.

Maori academic and Ngapuhi leader David Rankin says that although there is debate, the old people know the word Opango. Opango means the shrinking of your enemies heads literally the mummification of human heads.

Mr Rankin says that the word itself is an important reason to change the name, as Kaikohe refers to a battle, and about starvation and deprivation of our people and was a name imposed on the community by their enemy at the time. Mr Rankin thinks the name change will boost morale and pride in the towns Maori youth.

A warrior culture will lift the self-esteem of our young people and to actually place back inside our young people we were once warriors and we still are warriors, he told Sunrises Ali Ikram. Weve seen, as Maori, the sanitisation of our history, the sanitisation of our culture. The missionaries sanitised our culture, and now we actually have Maori academics that actually sanitise our culture, Mr Rankin said.

We have academics now that say Maori were not cannibals, Maori were not this, Maori were not war-like. We were a peace-loving people. That is not true.

Mr Rankin says he has approached the Geographic Board and the Maori Language Commissioner, and has started a petition which has around 600 signatures. He is also considering a hikoi and other protest action if the matter is not resolved.

Source: 3 News

2 COMMENTS

  1. I think your understanding of a "warrior culture" is misaligned.

    "In many societies in which a specialized warrior class exists, specific codes of conduct (ethical codes) are instituted in order to ensure that the warrior class is not corrupted or otherwise dangerous to the rest of society. Warrior codes often have common features and usually value honour in the forms of faith, loyalty and courage."

    Those are values that most would aspire to. To equate this with "killing, raping and pillaging" … "like the Maori of old" clearly shows your lack of insight and knowledge regarding Maori histories. I suggest educating yourself and then commenting it's more interesting that way. Kia ora!

  2. Mr Rankin may be right in many respects about the history and culture of the Maori people, but I seriously wonder whether a "warrior culture" is what the young people of any people need in this day. We do not need young people thinking that they can kill, rape and pillage like the Maori of old because "that's our culture". We need the young people to have morals and good values instilled into them so that they will rise above their historical culture and be upstanding citizens in a modern world.

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