by Hona Black
I don’t know Hona Black but I can tell he tangata hātekēhi ia, and imagine he had much fun writing this book.
The title Te Reo Kapekape is literally, the language of poking fun and that’s the main thrust of the content. With each of the 130 themes, the author gives an explanation then constructs two short dialogues between recurring characters, members of an extended family. Being whānau, they don’t hold back. As the author explains – “Our ancestors did not shy away from hurling words at each other to tease, to belittle, to humour, and to compete.”
Hēni: Ko Rangi tētahi o ngā kaiako o te kura reo ā tērā wiki.
Moana: E kī rā! Kāore e makere te kiri o te rīwai i tērā kua haere ki reira whakaako ai.
Hēni: Rangi is one of the teachers at the kura reo next week.
Moana: Is that so! That one can’t even peel a spud and he’s going there to teach.
These pieces of dialogue are not only illustrative but often highly amusing and a source of further memorable sayings, frequently with an emphasis on body parts and functions.
They’re also right up to date, including references to such contemporary things as air conditioning /whāhauhau, facebook/pukamata, man flu/rewharewha tāne, poledancing/kanikani me te pou, and more. Some things, though, such as budgie smugglers and Zoom, defy translation.
He pukapuka reo rua tēnei, ko te reo Māori ki tētahi taha me te reo Pākehā tētahi atu, so whether or not you’re bilingual you can read the Māori or English side by side.
Even in English, and sometimes especially so, some of the phrases are priceless – your tongue will be the deaf of you!
Kia ora, Hona. Tata tonu au ka hemo i te kata.
Author: Hona Black