Can words be gifted or reclaimed?

It is a curious situation we have in New Zealand where words and names are ‘gifted’.? Various groups feel empowered to ‘gift’ words and names for buildings or unborn babies.

Is it possible to gift something that you don’t own or possess?? Can I gift you some sunshine or fresh air?

Likewise, is it possible to reclaim a word?? Surely reclaiming something implies ownership and subsequent loss.

Who owns words?? Yes, I understand that certain brand words are ‘owned’ but other than that, can words be owned, be gifted or be reclaimed any more than sunshine can?

Why does Marama Davidson need to ‘reclaim’ a particular English word?? Did she own it before?? Did she lose it? Did someone hand it in to lost property?

A quick look at a Maori Dictionary shows that Marama has plenty of choice from her cultural heritage. There are 17 candidates for the word she wishes to reclaim:

  • tenetene??(noun) vagina.
  • tenoteno?(noun) vagina.
  • taiawa (noun) vagina.? (Also a narrow dry watercourse – quite applicable to her thought processes.)
  • maunene (personal noun) vagina, female genitals, pudenda muliebria – a personified form of some part of the vagina.
  • mokakati? (personal noun) vagina, female genitals, pudenda muliebria – a personified form for some part of the vagina.
  • keho? (noun) vagina, vulva, pudendum muliebre.
  • kauraho ?(noun) vagina, female genitals, pudenda muliebria.
  • kiritore? (noun) vagina, female genitals, pudenda muliebria, vulva.
  • kehokeho (noun) vagina, vulva, pudendum muliebre.
  • puketona? (noun) vagina, female genitals, pudenda muliebria.
  • tewhatewha? (noun) vagina, female genitals, pudenda, genitalia, vulva.
  • tore? (noun) vagina, vulva, pudendum muliebre.
  • t?kini?(noun) vagina, female genitals, pudenda muliebria.
  • teke? (noun) vagina, female genitals, pudenda muliebria.
  • tara ?(noun) vagina, female genitals, pudenda, genitalia, vulva.
  • namu? (noun) vagina, female genitals, pudenda, vulva.
  • karo? (noun) vagina, female genitals, pudenda muliebria.

Interestingly, kehokeho can be used in conjunction with marama. “Kei te w?hi m?rama kehokeho” means “It is quite clear”.

In the current situation, it is quite clear that this is a very unfortunate combination.

On behalf of all the team here at Whaleoil, please accept the gift of these words.

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