This station is Karanga-a-Hape, Chur!
Additions to the Oxford English Dictionary and train station names for Auckland.
When I changed the name of this newsletter from The Daily Read to Nick’s Kōrero I was a bit worried whether people would know what Kōrero meant or not. I added a definition when I announced the change and kind of assumed people who weren’t familiar with it would get used to it.
Yesterday there was a announcement - dozens of New Zealand and Māori words added to the Oxford English Dictionary. One of these additions was Kōrero!
New Zealanders will now see the common and casual te reo Māori greeting Kia ora e hoa! – meaning “hi mate” – in their Oxford English Dictionaries, as the institution moves to recognise the “profound and lasting impact” the Indigenous tongue has had on New Zealand’s language.
E hoa, or friend, is one of 47 New Zealand English words or expressions added to the dictionary in its latest update – most of them in te reo Māori, which is an official language of New Zealand. The OED describes itself as the definitive record of the English language…
Not all of the linguistic debuts are in Māori; New Zealanders might also attend an after-ball (perhaps unsurprisingly, a party held after a ball), proceed with something flat stick (as quickly as possible), or greet or thank a friend using the single syllable chur (similar to cheers, but in practice a sort of all-purpose positive acknowledgment).
Most Kiwis will already know, and use, a lot of the words added. But one that I’m sure is known to all is the incredibly versatile word Chur.
But it wasn’t just words being added to the dictionary that we heard about.
Station names for the new city rail link stops, and some existing ones were announced. That could be interesting I thought, then I read “the concepts for the railway station names were conceived by KiwiRail, City Rail Link Ltd, and Auckland Transport and went through a public consultation process.” Oh dear I think, oh dear oh dear, that does not sound like a group or a process that will deliver good names. What are we going to get “Station McStationFace”?
But no, they did a pretty good job I reckon. Let’s take a look at a few.
At the moment all roads, and rails, and ferries lead to Britomart. What is a Britomart anyway? It sounds like the sort of name such a committee would come up with, bland, meaningless, non-offensive (the name is from a Royal Navy gunship, HMS Britomart, which was the first English vessel to carry out a detailed survey of the Waitematā Harbour).
So what have they gone with? Auckland Central? Downtown? No, they chose Waitematā.
The name of one of our two harbours in Tamaki Makaurau, makes sense for the station by the harbour. So far so good, but lets encourage people to say Waitematā properly, it must be one of the more poorly pronounced Māori names historically. Anyone else remember those Waitemata Beds radio jingles? They sounded like they were being pronounced by an Australian taking the piss out of the Kiwi accent. Or should I say taking the pus?
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A train station I’ve used a lot was Mt Eden, it was about 50 metres from my parents front door. It was always a bit of a crap name, the station isn’t anywhere near Mt Eden village, it would be more accurately called Eden Terrace. It will now be called the Maungawhau Railway Station.
I like it, it is a pretty well known name in the area, with one of the local primary schools sharing the name. “Named after its proximity to the nearby maunga (mountain) and its whau (trees)”, I think we should be able to handle that sort of complexity.
The new station on K road is to be named “Karanga-a-Hape Train Station”, which is cool. I have always loved K road, it may not be as wonderfully weird as it was decades ago but it’s still got quirky shops and places to eat. Very cool to think there will soon be a station there, although I suspect it will become known as “K Road” by locals.
The jewel in the crown of the City Rail Link will be the station in Aotea Sq, the heart of the city, our theatre district. It is to be called “Te Waihorotiu Railway Station”. Named for “a taniwha in the waters and is derived from a historic stream that previously flowed into Waitemata Harbour.”
This one is unfamiliar, I wonder whether people will get used to it, abbreviate it, or use something else. Te Wai perhaps or more likely just Aotea Sq. It is hardly one of the world’s great city squares but it does describe where the station is. Or at least where the Wellesley St entrance will be.
I think the committee have done a pretty good job. Which may be the first time Auckland Transport (AT) and good job have been used in proximity to each other. You might think that’s a bit harsh on AT. Well while writing this I thought I’d look up the announcements made on Auckland trains, and I came across this interaction. Which explains in one trail of communication why AT costs so much and delivers so little.
The only thing that would make all of these new stations more exciting is if they were easily accessed by the majority of the population in Auckland. Something to look forward to another day, perhaps when we have a more visionary and coherent mayor. Because holy breakfast bourbon batman, this one is cooked!
A number of people asked me if I heard his interview on RNZ yesterday, going back and listening to it - he sounds like a cantankerous old drunk, not the mayor of our largest city. He sounded like Rob Muldoon announcing the snap election after a bottle of gin, but without the charm.
Forget Christopher Luxon’s terrible performance so far this year, I think the greatest risk to Luxon winning the election, or even retaining his role until then, is being associated with Wayne Brown. A lot of people will be saying - turns out hiring the pro business guy who promises to cut rates (taxes for Mr Luxon), but has no plans to address the problems and doesn’t give a stuff about most of the people - turns out it’s a really bad idea.
Anyway this isn’t about Luxon. Listening to Brown talking about defunding the Arts in Auckland was just so so sad. To have this small minded barbarian making decisions about Arts and Culture is a bad joke. Some of you will have read the outstanding piece, The Wrecking Ball, that Simon Prast has written about this, if you haven’t do take a look. I wonder if Simon has ever considered running for mayor.
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