Parliamentarians have formally been welcomed to Waitangi with PM Chris Hipkins urging Kiwis to not be afraid to discuss Maori-Crown relations while National Party leader Christopher Luxon labels Treaty ‘a little experiment’. Video / NZ Herald
First Chris Hipkins landed himself a new job.
Now the Prime Minister has acquired, with possibly even less advance warning, a te reo name to complement the English nickname “Chippy”.
Hipkins’ new Māori name was bestowed by Far North Kahika (Mayor) Moko Tepania during a Government housing announcement in Kerikeri.
During an entertaining speech at Friday’s opening ceremony, Tepania said the Prime Minister would henceforth be known in the North as Tāmara.
“Mara” was a term of endearment used to address friends in the Ngāpuhi dialect, similar to the word “bro”. “Ta” had a similar meaning but was used around the country. Tā could also mean “chip”, Tepania said.
The combined word was a friendly term like “bro” or “mate” that could also be taken to mean “a chip off the old block”.
There was plenty of laughter from the audience during Tepania’s speech but it wasn’t immediately clear what the PM thought about his new title.
It’s not the first time a leader visiting Northland has been offered tongue-in-cheek name advice.
In 2018 then Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who had revealed her pregnancy just before Waitangi Day commemorations, was inundated with baby name suggestions.
When a Te Aupōuri elder suggested Waimirirangi — Queen of Ngāpuhi — during an iwi leaders’ meeting, Tai Tokerau Kelvin Davis had the hall roaring with laughter when he said he feared someone would suggest the “traditional, ancestral Ngāpuhi name Sonny”.
Davis’ response was a light-hearted dig at former Ngāpuhi leader Sonny Tau.
Fortunately, perhaps, the baby was a girl and was named Neve Te Aroha instead.