A enraged mother has spoken out after learning that her daughter’s nursery has abbreviated her name because it is ‘too difficult to pronounce.’
Mahinarangi Tautu had just recently begun attending a day care center in New Zealand when her Maori mother Paris was told that the five-year-old would be referred to as “Rangi” by the workers.
They explained to the alarmed parent that Mahinarangi’s common Maori name, which means “moon in the sky,” was too difficult to pronounce.
In a twist, Paris says that cruel children ridicule her daughter’s common name and don’t even bother to pronounce it.
Mahinarangi is so irritated as a result of the abuse that she no longer attempts to correct people when they mispronounce her name.
Paris said her daughter’s name from the Ngāti Raukawa heritage has been passed down through several generations and has a deep line of descent, known as whakapapa, which often shows where someone is from.
Not giving someone their full name can be seen as a lack of respect.
In a community Facebook post, Paris said: “Can you imagine your child being too embarrassed to say their name because people won’t make a decent effort to pronounce it properly?”
“I am sad that in 2021, in Aotearoa, a 5-year-old girl has lost the pride that comes with her beautiful name.
“It made me so angry, especially because they’d use Maori resources in her classes.”
Paris told New Zealand Herald that her ancestors endured a similar experience which has made her even more determined to make sure her daughter’s name is pronounced correctly and not changed.
She said: “My ancestors changed their original name from Perepe-Perana to Phillips because of colonisation.
“I will not let something similar happen with my daughter.”
Paris said she has taught Mahinarangi to break down her name into single syllables to educate people and help them to say her name correctly.
She is also urging other parents to remind their children about the importance of their name if it is traditional and part of their culture.
“It’s important for our kids to be confident in their names, regardless of their ethnicity,” she said.