Olympic pronunciation challenge for Maipi

By Moana Makapelu Lee
  • Auckland

He's a well-known name in the Māori household. Presenter and sports commentator Te Arahi Maipi is now taking up a name challenge of his own ahead of the Rio Olympics. With recent controversies surrounding the mispronunciation of Māori and Pasifika names by sports commentators, Te Arahi hopes to do Olympic athletes justice as the new face of the special Rio Olympics broadcast in New Zealand.

He's the new face of SKY's special broadcast of the Rio Olympics on Prime.

Maipi says, “I am really excited to be selected for the broadcast, knowing full well that this is the pinnacle of the sporting world. I'll be an avid follower of sports from rugby to league to boxing, those types of events.”

In 2012, ratings for the London Olympics peaked over 500,000. Viewer numbers are expected to be much the same this year. Maipi is looking forward to getting the 'kupu' out to a wider NZ audience.

“I won't be translating everything into Māori. However, I will be using Māori words and phrases so viewers won't be taken by surprise. Ultimately, regardless if we are Māori or Pākehā, te reo Māori is an official language in NZ, so use it.”

With recent controversies surrounding the mispronunciation of Māori and Pacific Islanders in sports, Te Arahi hopes to do Olympic athletes justice.

“It's really important to me to pronounce the names correctly. Names have power, they are important to Māori and our relations of the Pacific. That should be the case for everybody.

We shouldn't think because that person is Pākehā, it should be the same for French, Spainish, for all countries. A name has power.”

Like a true journalist, he's using all resources available to help him prepare.

“YouTube is my best friend at the moment. There are resources that have been created for international events. So I've given those a try. I can't translate all the names into Māori because each culture has their own language.”

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