Auckland, New Zealand (PressExposure) July 30, 2009 -- It's Maori Language week in New Zealand (July 27 - Aug 2), and the Auckland Eco-tour & Farm visit company of Coast to Coast Tours has acknowledged its importance by giving a Maori name to the first two orphan lambs born in the farm's 2009 lambing season.
The 100-acre genuine working sheep farm is just 40 minutes from downtown Auckland. It carries around 500 sheep, and during the lambing season the farm usually gets between 10-15 orphan lambs, ones which are either sickly, or have been abandoned by their mothers. "The birthing of one of our sheep was terrible as the lambs were breech, and after the bad experience of us assisting the Mother, she did not want anything to do with the lambs! This is generally the case if we go in and help, but we don't like to see a sheep or lamb die if they are in trouble", said Stuart Hamilton, owner of the Coast to Coast Tour's farm.
"This year, it just happened that these [twin males] were born at the beginning of Maori Language week", said Donna Hamilton, who is of Ngai Tahu Maori descent. "Fittingly, we have called them 'Tahi' meaning one, and 'Rua', meaning two. It's going to be great because we often find that Maori names lead into discussing the Maori language with our overseas tourists. Such as with our little hairy dog named 'Manu', which means birds, and how the area of South Auckland, called 'Manukau', is a combination of Manu and kau, (where kau is wading). Here, you have the place of wading birds, which have been noted in that region. Although not all Maori place names can be literally broken up in this way, it is sometimes interesting to discover an historical association within the Maori word if they can be translated".
Since 1975, New Zealand has celebrated Maori Language week, and this year, the theme is 'Te Reo i te Hapori' - Maori Language in the Community. Te Reo is becoming quite popular, and now there has been a great resurgence in people speaking Maori since it became the official language of New Zealand in 1987. However, it needs a lot more fluent speakers for the language to survive because to- date there are only about 20% of Maori who can speak the language fluently.
During the Coast to Coast tour, owner/operators Donna & Stuart aim to give their visitors an overview of Maori culture within the true Eco-tour the hosts provide. "The Maori language and culture is a large part of New Zealand; you only have to look around to see how prevalent it is in our society. It's all about celebrating our native culture and keeping it alive and interesting", they say.