Te Atarangi Whiu wanted to commemorate the one-year passing of her mother in a te reo Māori only memorial notice in the NZ Herald this week, but her request was denied. She was told by the newspaper that it could only be printed if she translated it as per its policy.
This is where Te Iria Whiu's memorial notice should have been printed on Monday this week in the NZ Herald.
“We wanted to publish a memorial notice for our mother Te Iria because on Monday it had been a year since she'd passed,” says Te Atarangi.
The newspaper told Whiu it would publish the piece if she translated it, and as per its policy, the unwanted translation would be printed alongside her notice and the extra space required for this would be at her cost.
“I disagreed with that because for my family and me, te reo Māori is our first language. It is also the language of this land. It's a nationally recognised language under NZ law.”
Following the discussions between Whiu and the NZ Herald, she approached fellow NZME newspaper, the Bay of Plenty Times.
She says they had no problems and printed the notice entirely in Māori.
“I think they should walk-the-talk and back up what they have been publishing and promoting. Yes, support the language, advocate for it, but not just for one week of the year. It's a tokenistic approach. They should follow the example of the Bay of Plenty Times.”
Te Kāea contacted the Herald but it did not respond.