Cloth woven from many threads

LETTER

I read Phil Whyte’s opinion piece in the Weekender with interest.

Ours is increasingly becoming a multicultural society. However, if you prefer it as a bicultural society, you have the culture of the tangata whenua, the Maori people, and the so-called “Anglocentric” culture of the predominant grouping of later immigrants.

This is a young country, in terms of its evolution. It was made a British Crown colony in 1841. Full independence was only granted in 1931 and adopted by the New Zealand Parliament in 1947 (70 years ago). We remain part of the Commonwealth of Nations (formerly the British Commonwealth). The titular head of state is Queen Elizabeth II.

My forebears came from Ireland, England and Scotland. When I was a boy, in Timaru (Te Maru), large cargo ships coming from overseas were called “home” boats. It is not too surprising that earlier, when towns sprang into life with the influx of settlers, many were given English names — Nelson, the Duke of Wellington, etc, were English heroes.

Lakes, rivers, mountains and places in New Zealand carry a mix of Maori and what might be termed Anglocentric names. Surely this is a reflection of our cultural makeup and our heritage?

I am proud of my colonist/settler forebears who had the courage to up-stakes and travel arduously to a new land of which they knew little.

Just like now, people sought a new start and wanted better things for their children.

I love my country dearly, it is a cloth woven from many threads and like all other things, will evolve as it moves forward into the future.

Heritage is a strong factor for any culture. If we were to have a massive renaming, it would seem to me a “sea change” in the way things are done and should be put to the citizens as a whole, rather than left to elected representatives. Think the recent flag exercise.

Names are just that, tools to allow communication, commerce and social interaction. If we invest them with imagined deeper meanings they become greater than they need to be, in my opinion.

Ron Taylor

I read Phil Whyte’s opinion piece in the Weekender with interest.

Ours is increasingly becoming a multicultural society. However, if you prefer it as a bicultural society, you have the culture of the tangata whenua, the Maori people, and the so-called “Anglocentric” culture of the predominant grouping of later immigrants.

This is a young country, in terms of its evolution. It was made a British Crown colony in 1841. Full independence was only granted in 1931 and adopted by the New Zealand Parliament in 1947 (70 years ago). We remain part of the Commonwealth of Nations (formerly the British Commonwealth). The titular head of state is Queen Elizabeth II.

My forebears came from Ireland, England and Scotland. When I was a boy, in Timaru (Te Maru), large cargo ships coming from overseas were called “home” boats. It is not too surprising that earlier, when towns sprang into life with the influx of settlers, many were given English names — Nelson, the Duke of Wellington, etc, were English heroes.

Lakes, rivers, mountains and places in New Zealand carry a mix of Maori and what might be termed Anglocentric names. Surely this is a reflection of our cultural makeup and our heritage?

I am proud of my colonist/settler forebears who had the courage to up-stakes and travel arduously to a new land of which they knew little.

Just like now, people sought a new start and wanted better things for their children.

I love my country dearly, it is a cloth woven from many threads and like all other things, will evolve as it moves forward into the future.

Heritage is a strong factor for any culture. If we were to have a massive renaming, it would seem to me a “sea change” in the way things are done and should be put to the citizens as a whole, rather than left to elected representatives. Think the recent flag exercise.

Names are just that, tools to allow communication, commerce and social interaction. If we invest them with imagined deeper meanings they become greater than they need to be, in my opinion.

Ron Taylor

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lloyd gretton - 7 months ago
The quaint English names of Disraeli, Gladstone, Bright and Cobden are part of the physical and psychological make-up of Gisborne. Tourists from the UK and other English-speaking countries must be fascinated and attracted by names familiar from their own homeland. As the NZ politicians generally turn to fudge on these racial issues, there should be referenda. That should be enforced on the politicians by threatening to vote them out in the next election. All the public libraries in NZ have been protected from privatisation, outsourcing and user charges by this strategy of bibliophiles. Bibliophiles, whatever their politics, follow politics and vote.