A MUM was left fuming after her daughter's nursery changed her name because they said it was “too hard” to pronounce.
Mahinarangi Tautu, five, had just started going when her mum Paris was told staff would call her “Rangi” instead, News.com.au reports.
The name is traditional of their Ngāti Raukawa heritage, a Maori tribe from the central region of the North Island of New Zealand
Because of this the New Zealand woman said she “will not let this happen” as it doesn’t respect and honour her daughter’s Māori heritage.
“I am sad that in 2021, in Aotearoa, a 5-year-old girl has lost the pride that comes with her beautiful name,” the woman wrote in a Facebook post, The NZ Herald reports.
She explained Mahinarangi’s name is often mispronounced and mocked by her peers, leaving the young girl “embarrassed” and lacking the confidence to correct anyone.
“Can you imagine your child being too embarrassed to say their name because people won’t make a decent effort to pronounce it properly?” she said.
“It made me so angry, especially because they’d use te ao Māori resources in her classes.”
The outraged mother has since spoken out, saying her ancestors had experienced something similar, making her even more determined to not let the same thing happen to her daughter.
“My ancestors changed their original name from Perepe-Perana to Phillips because of colonisation,” Tautu told the NZ Herald. “I will not let something similar happen with my daughter.”
Mahinarangi’s name translates to “moon in the sky”, with her mum explaining that shortening it takes away its “mana” – a traditional Māori belief of an inherited spiritual power.
The name has been passed down through her ancestors and has a deep line of descent, known as whakapapa, which often indicates where someone is from.
Not giving someone the mana their name deserves takes away the significance of its meaning and can be seen as a lack of respect.
“It’s important for our kids to be confident in their names, regardless of their ethnicity,” Ms Tautu said.
“Our language isn’t complicated, pronouncing a name properly is massive to us.
“Your name is your identity. Your parents give you your name for a reason.”
Social media has erupted in support for the family, with people slamming the nursery for being “disrespectful” and “lazy”.
“Too lazy to pronounce … my kid’s school refuse to pronounce their Maori properly too, done on purpose every time, I cringe because it is sooo disrespectful,” one wrote on Facebook.
“Good on this mum for taking a stand,” another said.
“That teacher needs to step up and learn just as her students are expected to do, lead by example,” someone else added.
While one wrote: “This is wrong. the teacher needs to wake up.”
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