Tomorrow would have been her 90th birthday

June 11, 2019 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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Anne Frank, Diary of a Young Girl, has been translated into Te Reo Māori.

Te Rātaka a Tētahi Kōhine will be launched on June 12thas part of a network of global events to celebrate Anne Frank’s 90thbirthday.

Her Excellency Mira Woldberg, the Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, will preside over the event to be attended by New Zealand’s Governor General Dame Patsy Reddy.

‘What is done cannot be undone, but one can prevent it happening again’– Anne Frank

At a meeting at Parihaka marae in 2017, Ngapera Moeahu-Teitinga asked, “Is Anne Frank’s Diary of a young girl available in Te Reo Māori?”

Boyd Klap, chairman of the exhibition Anne Frank, let me be myself, which is currently travelling New Zealand, was stumped. He knew that the diary had been translated into 72 languages worldwide, but he didn’t know if Te Reo was one of them. A few quick phone calls told him the answer was ‘no’, and he immediately set about acquiring permission to make the translation happen.

That work is now complete, and Te Rātaka a Tētahi Kōhine, the 73rd translation of the book, will be launched at Wellington-based event at the Te Papa museum.

The event will also commemorate what would have been Anne Frank’s 90thbirthday, had she not died in Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. It’s part of the global network of events to celebrate her posthumous achievements, and remind us the horrors of the past should not be repeated.

“It made sense to me that in New Zealand, where Te Reo Maori is one of three official languages, Anne’s diary would be available in Te Reo as well,” says Boyd, 92, who was living in Holland during World War II and was part of the Dutch resistance.

“The occupation of the Nazis began as discrimination against the Jews, and ended up as a policy of destroying a whole race,” he says.

He hopes the translation of Anne Frank’s diary will lead not only to more people in Aotearoa New Zealand learning Te Reo Māori, but to a greater awareness of the dangers that lurk in discrimination.

“Our society has changed and there is a greater acceptance of minorities, but there’s a long way to go.”

The translation was completed by Rotorua-based Te Haumihiata Mason (Ngā Tūhoe, Ngāti Pango, Te Arawa), a noted Kaiwhakamāori who has also translated some of the works of William Shakespeare. Te Taura Whiri i Te Reo Māori, the Maori language commission, supported the translation financially, as did Rabobank, the David Levene Foundation and Wellington City Council (with the Wellington City Community Trust).

The publisher is the Holocaust Centre of New Zealand. Chairman, Jeremy Smith said: “We are honoured to be associated with Boyd in this marvellous project, combining Holocaust education and a human rights message with the delivery of a classic book into the tongue of the Tangata Whenua.”

Everybody should read this book — to understand what World War 2 meant for one Dutch Jewish girl and her family; and to make us think about how we should behave today, to stop such things happening again.

“This book encapsulates the endeavour of all authors to give authenticity to their writing. This book is a gift from Anne Frank to the world and to coming generations of New Zealanders to read it in te reo Māori. I commend Te Haumihiata for the beautiful translation and the publishers who have made this possible.”

Ngahiwi Apanui, Chief Executive,
Māori Language Commission Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori

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