Aroha Nui, New Zealand

This new piece by Grantmasters is not a gargoyle barfing up rainbows as one might initially think. Instead, it is based on the Te Wiki o te Reo Māori (Māori language week) poster. The builder tells us that up until 2018, New Zealand had only Maori and Sign Language (NZSL) as its two official languages, despite the fact that the vast majority of New Zealanders speak English. It was only acknowledged as an official language in February last year. The title of this little creation is Aroha Nui, which means “lots of love” in Māori. I have to admit I’m feeling aroha nui for the parts use here, especially the LEGO tire bent into the shape of the mouth. See, aren’t you feeling just a little more culturally aware than you did a minute ago? Gargoyle barfing up rainbows; what was I thinking?

Aroha Nui

4 comments on “Aroha Nui, New Zealand

  1. Håkan

    And just a few minutes ago I believed unicorns were the only creatures with rainbow bodily fluids… How enlightening with cultural awareness!

  2. Purple Dave

    It gets weirder. NZSL was only made an official language in 2006, probably in recognition of the fact that it’s unique to New Zealand. Similarly, Māori was just about driven into obscurity (by intent, much like what happened to native languages in the US during the late 19th/early 20th centuries) when it was declared the first official language back in 1987 as part of an effort to revitalize the language. Before that, they apparently didn’t have one.

  3. Håkan

    Here in Sweden, Swedish wasn’t declared an official language until 2009, 10 years after five minority languages in Sweden were declared official minority languages (although most of them were only spoken by a few percent of the population). Before 1999, I believe Sweden didn’t have an offical language, either; only Swedish as the De Facto main method of communication.

    And for Maori and general weirdness, wasn’t it some old lawsuit that stated that Lego wasn’t allowed to use Maori names for characters in, or marketing of Bionicle, since the Maori language belonged to the Maori people, or something? Incredible legal reasoning…

  4. Purple dave

    That’s not quite what happened. I’m a bit fuzzy on some of the details now, myself, but the first wave(s) of Bionicle sets came out in 2001. Europe (or at least the UK) got just the Toa sets and mask packs around January, and then North America got basically the whole spread starting about half a year later with Europe catching up maybe a month or two after that. Because of the staggered release, things didn’t blow up until around September. The protagonists were basically split up into three classes, all of which used a Māori name. Toa means something like Warrior, and they were the main heroes of the story. Turaga is something like Villager, but they used that name for the village mystics/leaders. But it was the basic villagers that caused all the problems as they were called Tohunga, which means Shaman or Medicine Man. That’s the one word that some of the Māori seriously objected to. So they changed Tohunga to Matoran (totally made-up word, I believe) and agreed to not just co-opt indigenous words like that anymore.

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