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Baby names

15th May 2024

Mum calls out nursery for shortening daughter’s name because it’s ‘too difficult to pronounce’

Charlie Herbert

‘It’s important for our kids to be confident in their names’

A mum in New Zealand has criticised a nursery for shortening her daughter’s name because staff and children there struggle to pronounce it.

Paris Tautu named her daughter Mahinarangi, a name with deep ties to her family and their Maori heritage.

But shortly after Mahinarangi started attending daycare, the mum was told that her daughter’s name had been shortened to ‘Rangi’ by staff.

Tautu revealed her daughter became too embarrassed to say her own name because of the nursery staff’s inability to pronounce it correctly.

She 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.”

She continued: “It’s important for our kids to be confident in their names, regardless of their ethnicity,” she said. “Your name is your identity. Your parents give you your name for a reason.”

Shortening Mahinarangi’s name isn’t the same as a shortened nickname would be here in the UK. In Maori, Rangi on its own means sky and Mhina means moon, so the name translates to ‘moon in the sky.’

Shortening the name is also a sign of disrespect in Maori culture as only half of the name is being respected, the Herald reports.

In a post on Facebook, 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 Aotearoa [the Maori name for New Zealand], a 5-year-old girl has lost the pride that comes with her beautiful name.”

Tautu has taught her daughter to sound out all the syllables in her name so that she can teach others how to pronounce it correctly.

She also wants to remind other parents about the cultural importance of names, and why we should correct mispronunciation.