Tuesday, January 11, 2011

A Hui of a time

Joan Metge's 2010 book, Tuamaka, (published in her 80th year) provides good insight into Maori language and the way many Maori words have been co-opted into everyday New Zealand speech and writing. She is careful to define how the words have shifted and expanded meanings over the last century, and to clarify how Maori speakers use them compared to how they're used in the wider community.

Occasionally this produces some humour, as for instance on page 74, where she's discussing the use of the word, 'hui', which is now used in a multitude of not necessarily appropriate settings. She quotes from the New Zealand Dictionary Centre's newsletter, NZ Words 10, from 2006 which wrote of the 'Proliferative Hui', where the word is used to mean 'meeting,' or 'gathering' or discussion'. It went on to list 24 usages, only four of which had Maori references...

"Newspaper reports, public notices, and websites reveal a 21st century widening use of hui in lieu of meeting, gathering, or discussion, by a range of organisations and groups. Many Government departments hold consultation hui. Political parties, trade unions, writers' groups, city and regional councils, Landcare and other environmental groups, the gay community, youth groups and churches hold hui of different hue. There are peace hui, blog hui, Out There hui, theological hui, communication hui, advisory hui, claimant hui, mandating hui, follow-up hui, taskforce hui, inaugural hui, regional training hui, assessment hui, annual hui, strategic review hui, trustee hui, planning hui, and regional cluster hui. There are problem gambling hui, hui-a-iwi, hui-a-tau, hui pooti, and hui topu. And a participant in a government-sponsored hui claimed that 'we suffer from hui fatigue.'
Post a Comment