Madelaine Julia Janiga-Warren Motu Match

  • School
    AUT Art + Design

The everyday mispronunciation of Māori words and place names not only diminishes the whakapapa and meaning of a place but is a prime example of Pākehā ignorance of Māori culture. By insisting on mispronouncing a placename, the name is stripped of its mana and meaning, and a person has essentially taken ownership of that name. Stemming from the impacts of colonisation, Rawinia Higgins considers that the older Pākehā generation are “victims of an education and social system […] where Māori language and culture wasn’t valued”. Often, if you have never learnt the correct way, it can be hard to wrap your tongue around the different sounds or macrons. But we all have a choice, and the right one starts with learning the correct pronunciations of Aotearoa’s unique place names, no matter how old you are.

Motu Match is a hand-made memory matching card game that fosters learning opportunities by leveraging knowledge that the older Pākehā demographic enjoys playing cards and word games as past times. By using English comparisons for pronunciation, players are more likely to be familiar with and attempt the correct pronunciation in a non-judgemental environment such as their home. The accompanying fold-out with place names, their meanings and stories can be referred to through the game to confirm a correct match. It is hoped that by providing the story and meaning behind the places, a deeper appreciation for the correct pronunciation will be created. Although originally aimed at the senior Pākehā demographic, Motu Match offers opportunities for multi-generational engagement. Players could include a child and their grandparent, thus expanding learning opportunities to the younger generation, too. Future avenues for Motu Match could include expanding the game’s scope to include more place names or even into educational environments.

When combined with repetition and pattern the triangular notches symbolise whakapapa, stories, histories and myths passed down over time, as well as the peaks, valleys and carving of the land. Featured on the backs of the cards and lining of the box, the pattern is a general symbol of the rich abundance of stories held in Aotearoa’s unique Māori place names. While providing a base for a contrast with the white screen printed text, black is representative of the realm of Potential Being, Te Korekore. White acts as a symbolism of the realm of Being and Light while adding balance to the design. Most often seen in the Māori world in koru and pounamu, green can be symbolistic of the natural life cycle and landscape of Aotearoa, through in particular the children of Papatūānuku; the trees and plants. Greens’ symbolism of new life and growth are also representative of the potential changes to attitudes that I hope the game can encourage and bring about.