Mom Slams Daycare Teachers Who Shortened Maori Girl's Name for Being 'Too Hard to Pronounce'

·2-min read

A five-year-old’s traditional name has been shortened at daycare because it was ‘too hard to pronounce.’ Mahinarangi Tautu from Palmerston North on the North Island of New Zealand had just begun attending daycare when her mother Paris was shocked to find out her teachers called her daughter ‘Rangi.’

The traditional name, which her mother, MsTautu shares has been passed down through several generations in their family, means ‘moon in the sky’.However, Mahinarangi is being ridiculed for her name and other students don’t even try to pronounce it correctly. Tautu shares that her daughter, embarrassed and distraught by the bullying, doesn’t correct anyone when they mispronounce her name.

The mother is determined not to let this repeat as it doesn’t respect her Maori’s heritage.

Talking to Daily Mail, Tautu askedif one can imagine your child being too embarrassed to say their name because people wouldn’t make an effort to pronounce it properly. She shared how she was sad that in 2021, a little girl has lost pride in her name which holds immense significance in their family.

“Mahinarangi is a prominent tūpuna in my iwi. I have taught my daughter the meaning of her name and how much mana it has,”she said that she tells her daughter to be ‘strong and proud just like her tūpuna (ancestors) was.’ She noted that the ancestors changed their original name from Perepe-Perana to Phillips because of colonisations, but she would’nt let this happen to her daughter.

Shortening the name alters the meaning completely, as Rangi means sky, Mahina means moon. Tautu shares that she moved to New Zealand from Australia after she found out she was pregnant as she wanted her daughter to be surrounded by her own culture.

The mother of one has taught her daughter to break down her name into single syllables to educate people and help them with pronunciation.

Tautu recalls she went to pick up Mahinarangi one day when she heard her being told off because her teacher kept calling her ‘Rangi’ to which the kid didn’t respond. She pulled her out of the daycare the same week and admitted her into a preschool, which she says has been very supportive.