Te Reo Maori Language Week at Brooklands Zoo

Haere mai kaihe: Te Reo Maori language signs at Brooklands Zoo. Jaya Robinson,4, New Plymouth, tries looking for the zoo's kaihe (donkey) Photo: Robert Charles/Fairfax NZ
Haere mai kaihe: Te Reo Maori language signs at Brooklands Zoo. Jaya Robinson,4, New Plymouth, tries looking for the zoo’s kaihe (donkey)
Photo: Robert Charles/Fairfax NZ

  Animal Translations

Donkey = Kāihe

Monkey = Makimaki

Goat = Nanekoti

Bird = Manu

Chicken = Heihei

Rooster = Tame hehei

Pig = Poaka

Brooklands Zoo has been encouraging visitors to talk to the animals this week – in Maori.

In recognition of Maori Language Week the New Plymouth zoo has put up signs identifying the ngā kararehe (animals) by their Maori names.

Assistant zoo curator Eve Cozzi said it was their contribution to expanding people’s Maori vocabulary.

“We just want to encourage our visitors to give the language a go.”

Ms Cozzi said she had overheard parents repeating the animals’ names over and over in Maori and then had their children repeat the words back to them.

“I find it rewarding listening to our visitors teaching their children the Māori words whilst visiting Brooklands Zoo.”

Ms Cozzi said she was unable to find translations for meerkat and otter which was unfortunate because they were two of the more popular exhibits at the zoo.

This had not been an issue with another popular animal the monkey or makimaki, or for the goats who have the delightful translation of nane koti.

Zoo staff also had Māori translation labels up in the animal food preparation area as well in the office.

“Some of the zoo staff have learnt basic te reo and it’s a good use of their knowledge to educate visitors to the zoo during Māori Language Week,” Ms Cozzi said.

The translated signage will stay up until Sunday 7 July

This article was published in The Taranaki Daily News on July 5, 2013

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