Topics: Health, Te Reo Māori

Māori glossary introduces non-judgmental health words

By Leah Te Whata

The author of a new Māori glossary of health words says English can be condescending. Keri Opai of Te Pou o Whakaaro Nui wants non-judgemental language used in the mental health, addiction and disability sector.

"There are plenty of words that, hopefully, can help those who are suffering from these disorders or illnesses," Opai says that English words are condescending and Māori words are not.

"English labeling are degrading and demeaning, my words, however, are I believe don't come from that perspective, these are all about empowering and uplifting."
Whilst it was health practitioners here today, the book is aimed at families.

"The word I created for autism, because one hadn't been developed, is takiwātanga. This gives a better explanation to the disorder," adds Opai.

Te Reo Hāpai has been about creating language in Te Reo that includes a Māori world view.

"Everybody will benefit if we examine new terms and look into its explanations for these disorders or illnesses but coming from a Māori perspective."

Looking after our people by being mindful of the power of words.