Even the Pakis laugh at this

Oh good grief, some people get upset over the silliest of things.

The head of the Pacific Island Media Association is calling out Australian sportscasters for their wilful mispronunciation of Polynesian names.

Will IIlolahia says he sent off a letter to Foxtel over the calling of a weekend rugby double-header involving Fiji versus Papua new Guinea and Tonga against Samoa.

He says there was a huge response on social media against the way names were mangled, with some viewers saying they had to switch off the sound because they felt so insulted.

“Willie Ofahengaue is a well known Wallaby icon in Australia for more than a decade and his son plays for Tonga, and yet they were still calling him ‘Off-a-hen-gah-way . Pangai was called Pan-guy. I mean how would these guys like to have their names basically mistrued,” he says.

Mr Illolahia says Foxtel sent an apology, but there needs to be a programme of training its announcers in pronunciation of names from Aotearoa and te Moananui a Kiwa.

Billy Birmingham aka the 12th Man has made a career out of mangling wog names for his comedy. But here’s the thing the Pakis actually loved them.

HM: Do you get a kick out of having made these guys even more legendary than they already were?

BB: Oh yeah, it’s a big thrill. They were always going to be remembered as great cricketers and captains and TV stars to some degree, but certainly the 12th Man gave these guys iconic, cult hero status. The media and the punters all seem to agree that that is the case. The success of the 12th Man and the catchphrases that really caught on, and the continued success of the albums just seemed to make Richie and the boys bigger icons as the years rolled on. I’d turned these men into the most impersonated people in the country. I was absolutely stoked when I heard Wasi Akrim (sometimes known as Wasim Akram) doing an interview earlier this year when Robert (Crash) Craddock asked him about the 12th Man CDs. He said, “We love them, we played them all the time in the dressing rooms”. And then he made this keen observation: “Richie, Tony and Bill were always going to be cricketing greats, but I tell you what, these 12th Man CDs have turned them into cult heroes.”

Wasim Akram also commented about how great they were and a motivator for the team.

So you be offended and play like pansies or use people mangling your name as a motivator. It’s a choice, but in this day and age it seems people prefer to be offended.


– Waatea


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  • Hobbes

    Who cares what they think. Certainly not me.They don’t pay the license fees. A good start would be to teach the Polynesians and Maoris (Moddies) to pronounce the English language properly.

    • Uncle Krauss (Waihi)

      Agreed and in addition many a TV presenter and wonder from which sociologocal sewer these people came – say a low class council school. I have listened to perfectly-pronounced English on the Philippines TV. Inter alia, my wife is from Manila and her English has to be perfect, she being a Translator and an Interpreter.
      So if those of Asian birth are able to do it, why not New Zealanders? The answer lies in attitude, the lowest common denominator of public acceptabiltiy referring.

  • Deja Voodoo

    I’m offended that in their statement for how offended they are they couldn’t even get their facts rights. Jo Ofahengaue is Viliami Ofahengaue’s Nephew, not son

  • Seriously?

    Some people take offense very quickly.

    Last winter Olympics I was watching an event with a kiwi in it and the American commentator was pronouncing all these really strange Scandinavian names very well, but mangled the home town of our guy (I think it was Matamata or the like).

    It was then that I realized he was probably mangling all the names (I had no idea how they ought to be pronounced) but doing so with the same confidence with which he mangled the NZ place name. Who cares, get over it.

  • Salad Dodger

    Australians cannot pronounce any foreign names and never try to. Living in Fiji we heard lots of ” Boo lahs” (bula) – B you rays (bure) and Veetie Lay vooo (viti levu). They murder English, so why would a Pacific Islander be surprised they cant say their names

  • JC

    I remember dear old Bill McLaren the Scot rugby commentator at the height of his fame would talk about AB “Sam Strahan from Mana-WHAT-oo”, and who could forget every older NZer talking about “Para-pram” down Wellington way.

    Whatever, for every Aussie who couldn’t pronounce a Maori name we scored a try.. a very nice tradeoff.


  • sandalwood789

    This calls for a bit of “the 12th Man”……. :)

  • rexabus

    God it’s pathetic and so symptomatic of the way our world is heading. Take offence and Whine and complain. What a sad lot of pansies people have become