Rapturous clap for te reo inside volcano in Iceland

LETTER

Re: Language connects with their roots, Sept 12 story.

Wonderful Craig and Josh (and Noriko and Nana Patty).

Inspirational.

My wife and I recently returned from a trip to Iceland (and elsewhere) and had an unlikely te reo encounter 270 metres inside a volcano. We were approached by an ex-Dunedin health graduate who said “great to hear a Kiwi accent here”. He had been a guide in Iceland for five years and was in an intern’s position after his Icelandic partner took him back there.

I heard him speaking in “Icelandic” and asked the guide how good his language was, because I guessed it was good. The Icelandic guide said she couldn’t fault his understanding “because I really tested him”. Then we commenced a discussion about the ability to learn a language in New Zealand. She knew about our “reluctance” to consider te reo “useful”. Her comments included how a second language led to the ease of picking up a third language after the second was mastered, as well as the more important “why not consider the value of connecting with the people of the land in an empathetic and all-encompassing way?”

So she asked me, “Could I make an effort in the Maori language?” I responded with a mihi and although I knew it was mediocre, she and the “observers looking on” in the volcano gave a rapturous clap.

I took that as a compliment to the efforts of the Patty family, who give this a shot to connect and heal our New Zealand race relations and take us closer to the happy countries in Scandinavia, Iceland and The Netherlands.

Geoff Meade

Re: Language connects with their roots, Sept 12 story.

Wonderful Craig and Josh (and Noriko and Nana Patty).

Inspirational.

My wife and I recently returned from a trip to Iceland (and elsewhere) and had an unlikely te reo encounter 270 metres inside a volcano. We were approached by an ex-Dunedin health graduate who said “great to hear a Kiwi accent here”. He had been a guide in Iceland for five years and was in an intern’s position after his Icelandic partner took him back there.

I heard him speaking in “Icelandic” and asked the guide how good his language was, because I guessed it was good. The Icelandic guide said she couldn’t fault his understanding “because I really tested him”. Then we commenced a discussion about the ability to learn a language in New Zealand. She knew about our “reluctance” to consider te reo “useful”. Her comments included how a second language led to the ease of picking up a third language after the second was mastered, as well as the more important “why not consider the value of connecting with the people of the land in an empathetic and all-encompassing way?”

So she asked me, “Could I make an effort in the Maori language?” I responded with a mihi and although I knew it was mediocre, she and the “observers looking on” in the volcano gave a rapturous clap.

I took that as a compliment to the efforts of the Patty family, who give this a shot to connect and heal our New Zealand race relations and take us closer to the happy countries in Scandinavia, Iceland and The Netherlands.

Geoff Meade

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