“Call me Wāhine” is an article that appeared on Suffrage Day, September 19 in The Wireless magazine, by a young woman, Māni Dunlop. What captured my attention was how she expresses her love of language, of words, of the power of words, and particularly her love of Te Reo and the gifts it brings. Tēnā koe, Māni, kia ora mō tōu whakaaro, āu kupu hoki, naia te mihi atu ki a koe.
Māni writes: “Wāhine – I love this word, and my love for it grows and grows as I continue to learn different kōrero around its definition. That’s the beauty of Te Reo Māori, the holistic nature that kupu (words) can be defined in so many different ways.
A kōrero I was told recently of wāhine, is the idea of “hi” meaning to align/draw or raise up/catch and “ne” being knowledge and wā being space/time … oh the possibilities of interpreting that! The way I absorb it is that wāhine are the alignment and holders of knowledge – I could write forever unpacking that kupu…”
Māni goes on to talk about her experiences as a young woman in Aotearoa growing up learning from strong and powerful wāhine (mum, aunties, sisters), and why she has a preference to please, call her wahine.
Māni draws on the power within a word – the deeper meanings – and what truth this brings up for her.
Mauri ora ~ the life force within me honours the life force within you