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August 20, 2018 | by  | in Ngāi Tauira |
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NT: Te Ara Tauira

As we all know by now Victoria may be having a name change in the very near future. So let this column be an approval for this change. There are many historically despised people whose names are used to officiate buildings, fields, nature reserves, landmarks etc. Arguably one of the most striking for Māori would have to be old Victoria herself. As the other half to a treaty broken countless times, Victoria represents the continuous disrespect, dishonour, and mistreatment towards Māori people, Te Ao Māori, tikanga Māori and te reo Māori. So why venerate a person who is one of the biggest blights to have stained our shared tapestry?

This University has historically been at the forefront of multiple progressive social movements, so by extension let its name no longer reflect an out of date colonial imperialist queen. Holding onto Victoria’s name reflects the ever constant myth that permeates the minds of colonial descendants, convincing them they are losing their colonial history or that Māori culture is being forced upon them (the irony in that one is deafening). This myth usually rears its ignorant head when anything is done or wanted to be done in favour of Māori visibility or inclusion in Aotearoa’s wider society, such as teaching te reo Māori in schools or even simple changes to place names. Yet in huge contrast, colonial history and culture is visible at all levels of our society, it’s in the architecture of our cities, it’s at every party and every board meeting, in our streets and our homes. It’s found in our behaviours and customs, our values and traditions.

Don’t believe me? Take a look around you and ask -on a daily basis how much of what you see, hear, feel, and interact with is Māori? … Change the name already.

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