I beg to differ with your correspondent A N Christie (Letters, January 4), who was incensed at having to listen to a bilingual voice message from our Public Library.

I too phoned the library for information about holiday opening hours. The message in te reo Māori was certainly not "lengthy", as claimed by your correspondent, It was followed by information in concise English.

Bearing in mind that te reo is New Zealand's second official language, I see no reason why we should not have bilingual signs and voice messages. Moreover, Rotorua is proudly New Zealand's first official bilingual city.

In my view, the order in which the English and Maori signs/messages are delivered is irrelevant.

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Bilingual signs and messages occur all over the world.

A N Christie might find, should they decide to learn te reo, (free classes are available at the library on Mondays, along with a cup of tea) that Māori is an interesting and beautiful
language.

Jackie Evans
Rotorua

'Unintelligible diatribe' description insulting

I am astounded at the ignorance and attitude displayed by your correspondent A N Christie (Letters, January 4) re the recorded welcome at the Rotorua Library.

Māori is the first Language of Aotearoa, not English, and Māori protocol is that visitors are welcomed first in Te Reo Maori, and the welcome is then repeated in English, for those who are not bilingual, exactly what the recorded message at the library has done.

To describe this courteous process as "an unintelligible diatribe" is not only grossly
insulting but displays an attitude of the English from the 19th century.

I had thought and hoped that this outdated attitude was long gone, however sadly I have been proved wrong.

I would remind your correspondent that our tamariki who were born of te reo speaking parents, and only knew te reo prior to going to school, were caned and strapped by the English bullies for speaking te reo Māori within the school grounds, whether in class or when playing outside.

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For a person who lives in probably the most Māori-influenced city in Aotearoa such attitudes are deeply worrying. Strangely, your correspondent signs themselves as living in "Rotorua", a te reo Māori word, rather than translating it into their own language, "English".

Could I suggest to your correspondent that they explore the excellent publications that the Rotorua Library has relating to early Māori history and/or te reo Māori?

S Kirihimete (Noel) Jory
Rotorua

Use of te reo Māori needs to be normalised

I was tempted to let A N Christie's letter go unanswered, however since English is "their language", then a couple of points need to be shared.

First, study of the word "diatribe" is indicated – it was used incorrectly. Secondly, the message would have been intelligible to a speaker of te reo, whose rights are being upheld by the use of "their language".

Those of us trying to learn te reo need its use to be normalised. It appears from what A N Christie has written, that the library's answerphone message in te reo was followed by one in English.

Te Aka Mauri is doing their bit for our bilingual city. How often do te reo Māori speakers find themselves sitting through English messages first, or exclusively? It must be a pleasant surprise to them to hear "their language" first.

As these two languages, along with sign, are official languages of New Zealand, no one's rights are being breached here.

Prejudice is being shown though by A N Christie, as surely there is no "English first" requirement?

Ruth Thomas
Rotorua

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