Tag Archives: He kakano ahau

In Aotearoa (New Zealand) Māori children were forbidden by the colonial education system to speak their mother tongue at school

“This recently-written song, He Kakano Ahau uses an old proverb to remind us of the rich ancestry of the Maori language. (You can read the whole article at the link below).”


In New Zealand (Aotearoa) as in most places colonized around the planet, the Māori language was banned at school. The goal for the colonizer was assimilation. Genocide achieved by blending the race into non existence.  Children were severely punished for speaking their mother tongue at school. You can read interviews with traumatized survivors of this regime in Rachel Selby’s book, Still Being Punished. Little ones were forced to empty latrines (buckets of human waste), or had their heads slammed under the opening desk lids among other punishments. One survivor says he didn’t speak for many months … at all.  English or Māori. When he did eventually speak he never spoke his mother tongue again.  They were not successful fortunately in wiping out Te Reo, it is still alive and well today.  This song reflects on that. In the words of the song writer Hohepa Tamehana: “In the renaissance of the language in the time of our fathers, anger was the drive to revive the language; it is now the language and culture that gives strength and identity to our children.”


 

From the article: Hohepa Tamehana (Tūhoe) who wrote this song said “his personal philosophy is ‘Culture is the essence of our being, it is the voice of our ancestors, the cries of our grandfathers, the anger of our fathers and the strength of our children.’

“In the time of our ancestors, culture was the daily voice used,” he explained. “In the time of our grandfathers, when culture and the language was banned by the colonial education system, it became the cries of our grandfathers.”

“In the renaissance of the language in the time of our fathers, anger was the drive to revive the language; it is now the language and culture that gives strength and identity to our children.” ”

READ MORE

http://folksong.org.nz/he_kakano_ahau/index.html#notes