‘What are you going to name your baby?’ This is a question that people often ask of expectant parents. Our names are important to us. They signify our identity, and we carry them through life.
Who names baby?
In the SKIP Whakatipu booklet Te Kākano (page 32), there’s a brief piece about naming a baby. It tells us that in a traditional Māori world the whānau members held the right to name the child. This happens in many cultures around the world, too.
In some whānau there are very strong ‘family names’ that get repeated through the generations. In other families it’s up to the parents. However the decision is made, there’s usually a story that goes with the name.
The topic of naming baby is one way to open a conversation with mum and dad about their pēpi, to explore how they’re thinking about pēpi, and the way things happen in their family.
Ask the whānau:
- Have you been thinking about what you’re going to name your baby?
If mum and dad have made a decision, you might explore their decision further by asking:
- Would you like to tell me about the names you’ve chosen?
- How did you come by the name?
- Who was involved?
- What’s the story behind the name?
If no decisions have been made about a name for pēpi, you might ask:
- Are there any special things your whānau does around naming babies?
- Do you know the story behind your own names?
- Would you like to tell me about your name?
- What are your thoughts about that?
The benefits of collective wisdom
‘Nā tō rourou, nā tōku rourou, ka ora ai te iwi. With your knowledge and my knowledge, we will thrive.’
This whakataukī reminds us about the benefits of ‘collective wisdom’. As parents are thinking about naming their new pēpi, they might want to tap into some of that knowledge from within the whānau, especially about their whakapapa (genealogy).
- Who will be involved in the name-choosing decisions for your pēpi?
- What will you want to consider?
- How will you go about it?
- Does your whānau have any special ceremonies or practices about naming babies?
- What ceremony would you like to do for your pēpi?
What will you be able to tell your pēpi about their name in the future?
How does this relate to the SKIP resources?
Baby Wall Freize - Kōrero mai mō tō tātou whanau - Teach me about my family
Six things children need - Te aroha me te mahana - Love and warmth