Naming rights . . . and wrongs

A few years ago, Linda and I visited Beijing.
    When I was a child, it would have been called Peking, but not any more. From 1979, the Chinese government encouraged the use of Beijing.
    The West was not forced to make the change, but over time, it happened anyway.
    Guangzhou (formerly Canton) was our entry point on that trip, and the baggage carousel was the first place I ever saw ‘‘Christchurch’’ written with ‘‘ Otautahi’’ after it in a public space like that.
    At that time I had never seen that in New Zealand and it felt a bit odd seeing it being done for the first time in a foreign country.
    The decision of the Central Otago District Council chief executive a couple of months back, that the iwi’s preference for Maniototo to be spelt and pronounced Maniatoto would apply to any council usage, has caused some consternation.
    In a practical sense, all the decision means is any emails sent within and outside council, and any documents council produces, etc, will use ‘‘Maniatoto’’. It does not mean the Maniototo Community Board, the school, any businesses or anyone else has to spell and/or pronounce the word this way — unless, of course, they want to.
    I have to admit, I really do not understand why people are so heated up about what is a minor change limited to within council.
    For me, it is really simple; if you want to keep using ‘‘Maniototo’’, do so.
    But if you prefer to use ‘‘Maniatoto’’, you should be free to do that too, without being criticised for doing so.
    Surely it is as much the right of those who want to use the Maori pronunciation or spelling to do that, as it is the right of those who want to use the more localised vernacular?
    I have a particular view on trying to use the right words and the correct pronunciation of te reo, and that’s partly based on how my whanau pronounce Cadogan.
    Generally speaking, the emphasis we put on the ‘‘o’’ is not the common usage.
    There are two guys in particular that insist on using ‘‘Cadigen’’.
    In doing this, they are implying that their opinion on how my name should be pronounced is the correct one, and that my way of pronouncing my own name is wrong.
    That’s quite an interesting way to interact with the world when you think about it, isn’t it?