New Internationalist

Curiosities

Issue 261

new internationalist
issue 261 - November 1994

Questions
...that have always intrigued you about the world will appear in this,
your section, and be answered by other readers. Please address
your answers and questions to ‘Curiosities’.

How is Aotearoa pronounced?

Contrary to the answer given in NI 235, Aotearoa is not pronounced Ow-tee-a-ro-a. Good grief!

It is composed of three Maori words:

Ao (which means ‘cloud’): pronounce as the two English words ‘ah’ and ‘awe’. Keep them short and glide together.

Tea (which means ‘white’): Say ‘e’ as in ‘ten’; ‘a’ as in ‘fast. A good approximation is the English word ‘tear’ (rhymes with ‘pear’ ) but leave off the ‘r’

Roa (which means ‘long’): The ‘r’ is tapped like a clipped ‘l’ and not trilled as in Scottish. Vowels as above.

If in doubt ask a Polynesian (Maori, Tahitian, Tongan or Samoan). But ensure they do not compromise with English by pronouncing ‘a’ as in ‘fat’ or ‘fate’.

Ian Ascott
Christchurch, Aotearao/New Zealand

Which country has been under colonial rule for the longest time?

Further to the answer given in NI 260, Malta is a contender for having had the longest period of colonialism – whilst retaining a vigorous and non-submissive identity of its own. I define ‘colonial rule’ as the domination of a cultural and territorial entity by people who are mostly neither born there nor owing it their primary allegiance.

Here’s Malta’s history:

pre 600 BC

    Neolithic and Bronze Age farmers

c. 600 BC

    Carthaginian colony developed from Phoenician trading post

218 BC

    Roman occupation after Punic wars

395 AD

    Byzantine occupation

870 AD

    Arab occupation

1091 AD

    Norman, German and Spanish rule

1531 AD

    Islands ceded to Knights of St John (a celibate order derived from the European Catholic aristocracy)

1788 AD

    French occupation and revolt by the Maltese people.

1800 AD

    British rule

1964 AD

    Independence from Britain

Does nearly 2,600 years count as the longest?

Lesley Misrahi
St Pauls Bay, Malta

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Awaiting your answers...

If ‘crack’ cocaine is more potent than cocaine powder why is it cheaper?

Duncan Wood
Weeting, UK

What is the title and who published JB Priestley’s novel about the
two men who founded the ‘Institute of Imagistics’?

Anne Travers
Leeds, UK

Can anyone tell me if there are any environmental organizations which take direct action
of a militant nature against those responsible for destruction of the rainforest
in South and Central America and in South East Asia?

S Davies
London, UK

How, where and when did the tradition of female circumcision (or genital mutilation) originate?

Tariq M M Antar
Khartoum, Sudan

Six million is the figure commonly given for the number of people killed in the Nazi Holocaust.
Has anyone got a more precise figure?

Jamie Janson
Watlington, UK

Which, if any, of the British commercial banks has cancelled its Third World debts –
particularly in regard to sub-Saharan Africa?

Liza Sandell
Suva, Fiji

If you have any questions or answers please send them to Curiosities,
New Internationalist, 55 Rectory Road, Oxford OX4 1BW, UK,
or to your local NI office (click here for addresses).

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