Countdown project lands new fish name in Maori Dictionary

What’s in a name? Well, quite a lot if you’re a Deep Sea Cod that has spent centuries unnamed in te reo Māori, only to be thrust into the linguistic spotlight in 2021. Nau mai haere mai to the mighty Moramora

Moramora or the Deep Sea Cod is the most recent addition to the official te reo dictionary, and its not-so meteoric rise through the ranks has come about due to an initiative between Countdown, te reo Māori advocacy group Ōkupu, and the Te Aka Māori Dictionary.

Earlier this month Countdown introduced joint te reo Māori and English language labelling on all its packaged New Zealand seafood products, a project spearheaded by Countdown team members who, through their own personal journeys with te reo, wanted to pay respect to Tangaroa and the fishermen or kaihao who provide their fresh seafood for all Kiwis to enjoy.

Countdown’s Director, Corporate Affairs, Safety and Sustainability, Kiri Hannifin says the initiative is part of the Countdown’s continued effort to incorporate te reo into everyday life in its stores.

“While we’ve had te reo signage in our stores for a number of years now, we are always looking for further opportunities to celebrate te reo and help make it part of the everyday language our team and our customers use. Our customers have increasingly seen te reo used in our communication with them and having te reo on our packaging too is a great next step,” says Kiri.

It was when project partner, Māori language advocate and co-founder of Ōkupu, Paraone Glyone was working on the translations, he discovered no te reo name for Deep Sea Cod existed.

“I checked and researched and could not find a Māori name for the fish - it feels like the one that got away!” says Paraone.

"Who knows, another name may come up that has been sitting within a hapū or whānau, but for now Moramora is the kupu,” he says.

Through a recently signed partnership with the Te Aka Māori Dictionary Ōkupu has special authorisation to add words to the official te reo dictionary, and Paraone had the honour of giving the Deep Sea Cod its new official te reo Māori name Moramora, which is adapted from its original scientific name Mora moro.

Moramora has now been officially added to the Te Aka Māori Dictionary, securing its place in te reo Māori for generations to come.

“While these might seem like mere labels, they have proven to be more than that. We know we have a role we can play in revitalising te reo, and we hope it can demonstrate to other businesses how easily it can be done, and why it’s important,” said Kiri.

“We’re incredibly proud of our mahi to bring te reo into everyday life and we’re looking forward to continuing to embrace this precious taonga,” she said.

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