Ataraira Cameron, a first-language reader of te reo Māori, explains her feelings towards the publication and translation by Leon Blake of Hare Pota me te whatu manapou, as part of the Kotahi Reo Pukapuka series by Auckland University Press.
The Kotahi Rau Pukapuka Trust is initiating a movement to translate 100 novels into te reo Māori, one of which is Hare Pota me te Whatu Manapou (Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone). When I heard about this translation project, I felt both anticipation and doubt about how the Māori speaking community would receive such a publication for three reasons: firstly, Harry Potter is a complex and well-known novel series with a large and committed following, depending on how successful the translation is, the reviews could be either brutal or spectacular. Secondly, the translator’s dialect could have a significant impact on the experiences of the reader, as te reo Māori is a language of many mita (dialects). Appeasing readers of diverse mita strikes me as a challenging proposition. Finally, this book will impact future Māori readers of Harry Potter, and the 100 new translated novels themselves will also influence reading for Māori young people in the years to come.
…When I heard about this translation project, I felt both anticipation and doubt about how the Māori speaking community would receive such a publication
Leon Blake (Tūhoe, Tūhorangi, Ngāti Wāhiao, Ngāti Whāwhākia, Ngāti Porou, Taranaki, Ngāti Kahungunu, Te Whānau a Apanui) translated Hare Pota me te Whatu Manapou.He is exceptionally fluent in reo Māori and is a part of a movement to rediscover old and create new Māori words to bring back into everyday reo. I suspect that some of the more complex language may have been included to give the reader new (or potentially very old) words and concepts.
Aotearoa sorely lacks published material in te reo Māori that exists solely for the pleasure of reading, and there are limited variants in mita. The shortage of resources can discourage regular Māori readers, without a variety of exciting books to read, they become bored, and it is a struggle for new reo Māori learners if the resources are in a different mita than the one they have learnt. As a child, my first language was te reo Māori, and I eagerly read Māori picture books from a young age. I quickly became an avid reader and devoured books wherever I could access them. Unfortunately, as I grew older, te reo Māori books and novels became scarce. I taught myself how to read English to access a greater variety of stories and novels since there weren’t many Māori chapter books available at the time. Harry Potter, The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, are among my favourite books.
As a child, my first language was te reo Māori, and I eagerly read Māori picture books from a young age. . . Unfortunately, as I grew older, te reo Māori books and novels became scarce.
If Hare Pota was the first experience of the Harry Potter Universe for a young fluent Māori reader, I think this translation could work well. It would be through a te ao Māori worldview that they would be introduced to the story and characters. It was more difficult, coming to a story very familiar to me in te reo Māori as a fluent English reader; as I already knew the story well. As a dedicated Harry Potter fan, I brought my ideas and expectations to the experience.
I recommend Hare Pota me te Whatu Manapou to Māori readers who are looking to extend their reading. It is a great book for any Māori language learner to increase their vocabulary knowledge. This translation is a good opportunity for rangatahi Māori to carry on their love of reading in our reo; this book makes me hopeful for the future generations of te reo Māori readers. I think that the Kotahi Rau Pukapuka project will have a far-reaching impact on these young people and I am looking forward to reading what is translated next.
Hare Pota me te Whatu Manapou
Nā J. K. Rowling
Translated into te reo Māori by Leon Blake
Published by Kotahi Rau Pukapuka / AUP
He tauira a Ataraira i te wharewānanga o Wikitōria, Te Herenga Waka. He rangatahi Māori ia nō Tauranga Moana. Mai tana tamarikitanga kua aroha ia i ngā pukapuka me ngā pakiwaitara o whenua kē, e ako ana ia i te Cultural Anthropology me te Māori Studies hei te tau nei. E moemoeā ana ia kia tū hei kaihura hei anamata kia tautoko i ngā iwi Māori o Aotearoa.
Ataraira Cameron is a Māori undergraduate student at Te Herenga Waka Victoria University of Wellington. She has loved books and stories since she was a child. She's studying a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Cultural Anthropology and Māori studies. In the future, she wants to be an Archaeologist and focus on iwi Māori issues in Aotearoa.