I know a little bit about mispronunciation.
My own name has been mispronounced and misspelt my whole life by teachers, friends, colleagues. It's something I'm used to.
I have a spiel when I need to say and spell my name to someone over the phone. I'm sure it's the same for others who have unusual names too.
But while I'm used to it and rarely correct people unless my name is on an official document, it can be frustrating when someone is told over again how to pronounce it, but still refuses to try to get it right.
This frustration must be magnified when Māori place names, steeped in cultural significance, are continually mispronounced — sometimes on purpose "because I was brought up saying it that way".
Imagine visiting places such as Scotland or Wales — where names are notoriously hard to pronounce and where names are also as culturally significant.
Would you insist on pronouncing a name the way you thought it should be pronounced — or make an effort by doing it the way locals have told you? Seems like a no-brainer.
We reported this week that social media adviser for Te Māngai Pāho Sonny Ngatai has been on a mission to ensure Māori place names are used correctly, even celebrated.
"The main reason is to encourage the correct pronunciation of te reo, but also that if we don't pronounce correctly we lose the whakapapa — the story behind it.
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"If you are a citizen of that community I think it is invaluable to know what it means."
The most mispronounced in the motu — by far — was Tauranga, Ngatai says.
"Towel-wrong-ah", when really, it should be "Toe-rung-ah".
Tauranga refers to the harbour being used as being a "resting place for waka".
Rotorua means "second lake". Rotorua's full name is Rotorua-nui-a-Kahumatamoemoe, discovered by the Māori explorer Ihenga, and it was named after he discovered Rotoiti first.
Ngatai says we should not only learn how to pronounce names correctly but learn their meanings.
"I wholeheartedly believe, not just for Māori, that it helps knowing more about New Zealand identity and more of who we are — it is like a little secret door into another world."
I think that's lovely — we should be doing justice to te reo, making an effort to have a wider, deeper understanding of the importance of place names.
Let's make the effort to pronounce our place names correctly and forget about "how you were brought up to say it".