Mā Muri Ko Mua: An introduction to the issues associated with the translation of the Pene Haare manuscript
Tipene, J. (2009). Mā Muri Ko Mua: An introduction to the issues associated with the translation of the Pene Haare manuscript (Thesis, Master of Arts (MA)). The University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/3264
Permanent Research Commons link: https://hdl.handle.net/10289/3264
Keywords: translation; translation theory; translation practice; Ngakuru Pene Haare; Te Rarawa; manuscript; Māori-English translation; ethically grounded translation. In September 2007, a copy of a typewritten transcript of a manuscript dated 1923 and written by Ngakuru Pene Hare was given to a member of staff of the University of Waikato by Stephen Burke and Bella Wade, descendants of the author, who requested that the University provide a scholarly treatment and translation into English of the text. Also provided later were copies of letters written by the author and a copy of the original handwritten manuscript. The original manuscript, written in the Te Rarawa ki Hokianga dialect of te reo Māori of the author's time, consists of 239 leaves and contains accounts of at least 62 Ngāpuhi battles, most of which took place between 1820 and 1840. The research reported here seeks to identify issues and problems that must be addressed if a competent and ethically-grounded translation is to be produced. Among the issues and problems identified are a number of critical ones. These include the paucity of information that is publicly available about the author, the context in which he lived and worked and the events about which he wrote. Also identified as being problematic are aspects of the text itself. Thus, for example, many of the conventions associated with contemporary writing in Māori (such as paragraphing and the signalling of word and sentence boundaries) are applied only sporadically. Some of the words and expressions used are archaic and/or esoteric, and symbolism that is deeply culturally-embedded characterises much of the text. Also of significance is the impact of writing on conventions associated with the oral transmission of information. The author's intention in producing the text is also identified as being of fundamental importance in relation to the process and product of translation, as are issues associated with the putative readership of that translation. Of paramount importance is the sacred and sensitive nature of the text itself and much of its content. In addressing these issues, a wide range of sources are drawn upon. These include the text itself and the transcription of the text, letters and other material written by, or directly influenced by the author, photographs that reveal important information about him, and a wide range of sources of information and opinion (written and oral) about the author and/ or the times and places in which he lived and the events about which he wrote. Also drawn upon is literature in the areas of linguistics and discourse analysis and the theory and practice of translation, including literature written by the growing number of Māori scholars who have focused on issues associated with translation involving Māori and English. Among the recommendations made are that the translation, a gloss translation that includes explanatory notes, be undertaken, with tikanga Māori as guiding principles, under the mentorship of knowledgeable elders and in consultation with those to whom the manuscript belongs.
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