What’s in a name? We think quite a lot. That is why over the last few years we have been considering how our name could better reflect the work we do.
Increasingly, our focus is on reading and readers. Our aim is to grow a nation of readers.
Over the past 47 years the Book Council has undertaken a wide range of activities to support readers, reading, writing and writers. For the next phase, we will focus on promoting and encouraging reading.
Our new name – Read NZ Te Pou Muramura and identity better captures our focus.
We enjoyed the opportunity to work with Te Ataahia Hurihanganui to identify a Māori name that reflects our mission. She shared with us the meaning of Muramura.
In the beginning there was ‘Te Korekore’, the darkness. Within Te Korekore lived ‘Io’, the Supreme Being. Io created numerous realms of ‘Pō’, the night. Eventually, the darkness gave way to ‘Te Ata’, the dawn, from which the primal parents ‘Papatūānuku’, the Earth Mother and ‘Ranginui’; the Sky Father came into being.
The primal parents produced children (who became ‘atua’ or gods or elements) and placed them in the world. As they grew, the children, who loved their parents, had to crawl between them and they soon wanted space and light.
So the atua plotted to forcibly separate Papatūānuku and Ranginui. The job fell to ‘Tānemahuta’ who used his physical strength to separate Ranginui and Papatūānuku, creating the universe, moving from darkness into light.
Then came Tamanui-te-Rā – the sun god. He and Hine Raumati (goddess of Summer) gave birth to Tānerore (shimmering air).
Legend says that Tānerore – a playful, active, lively character – would perform dances for his Mother which are revealed in the quivering appearance of the air during warm summer days or days of intense light.
Tānerore and his spontaneous, dynamic movements are therefore the epitome of heat itself and the shimmering air that it creates. Māori attribute the ‘wiriwiri’ of fingers in our performing arts and dances as well as the movements in ‘haka’ to Tānerore.
Our Māori name is based on the creation story’s movement from darkness into light – a metaphor to describe what happens during the process of reading.
Acknowledging the sun’s (Tamanui-te-Rā) important role in providing light as well as its heat and movement (Tānerore), our name captures the feelings/emotions, connections and connotations of ‘fire’, ‘spark’ or ‘sunrise’ and new horizons. It also captures the idea that there is an element of surprise or unexpectedness in any sunrise, but there will always be more and that the process itself is an eternal and continuous one for all – much like reading.
Muramura means flame; blaze; to be glowing. ‘Te Pou Muramura’ means ‘the sustenance of a blaze’ as ‘reading is like a glowing flame/blaze.’
Click here to read our media release about the name change.