Mum fuming as nursery shortens daughter's name 'because they can't pronounce it'

A five-year-old girl is too embarrassed to say her own name because both nursery staff and children can’t be bothered to pronounce it properly.

Mahinarangi Tautu had only just started to attend a daycare centre in New Zealand when staff told her mum Paris that they would call her ‘Rangi’.

They said her traditional Maori name, meaning ‘moon in the sky’ was too difficult to pronounce. Meanwhile other children have been teasing and laughing at her about it.

In a community Facebook post, Paris said: ‘Can you imagine your child being too embarrassed to say their name because people won’t make a decent effort to pronounce it properly?

‘I am sad that in 2021, in Aotearoa (Maori name for New Zealand), a 5-year-old girl has lost the pride that comes with her beautiful name.’

Paris, from the northern city of Palmerston North, is furious that people at the nursery aren’t taking the time to learn the correct pronunciation, especially considering it uses Māori resources in the classroom.


She’s taught Mahinarangi how to break her name into single syllables to help people learn it and says her daughter ‘feels a sense of pride when people give it a go’.

Paris told the New Zealand Herald: ‘My ancestors changed their original name from Perepe-Perana to Phillips because of colonisation. I will not let something similar happen with my daughter.’

Paris is also urging other parents to teach their children about the importance of getting someone’s name right if it is a part of their culture.

She added: ‘It’s important for our kids to be confident in their names, regardless of their ethnicity.’

‘Our language isn’t complicated, pronouncing a name properly is massive to us. Your name is your identity. Your parents give you your name for a reason.’

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