Meet the student fighting for his country's native language. He's great.

This kid has a point. About life. About relating to other human beings.

He’s talking about being earnest and doing your best. In this case, it’s in order to pronounce the language of your neighbors. But when you think about it … this is true of life, right? What a great way to be.

Enjoy seven minutes of well-researched wisdom. (I can’t believe this kid, whose name is Finnian Galbraith, is only in high school! And he did this for a school project?!)

“I wrote this speech initially for a speech competition in 2014 because I see this as a big issue and I believe it is very important that we take action,” Finnian wrote.

I highly recommend watching the whole video. But if you can’t, here are the biggest lessons.

It’s OK to not be perfect.

But people deserve respect. All that matters is that you make an effort.

And who knows? You might get invited to a fun party by a Māori celeb just for the effort.

All that matters is that you are trying.

Finnian came up with this magical state of trying when he noticed the way people in his native New Zealand were (mis)pronouncing Māori words.

Māori is an official language of New Zealand, which means there’s basically one way to pronounce this extremely rare language. So when folks from the country where it originated mispronounce it, it’s not like, “Oh, but I’m saying it with an accent!” — it’s more like, “Oh, I don’t care!”

Which is a shame because Māori words are all over the place in New Zealand.

Such as the longest place name in New Zealand. Image via Archives New Zealand/Flickr.

Image via Map of the Urban Linguist/Flickr.

Image via luvjnx/Flickr.

There’s even a Māori Wikipedia! And it’s a good thing because Māori is a rare language!

While I shouldn’t have to convince you that Māori is an awesome culture — because, hello, they’re people and they deserve respect — here’s a quick dip into the culture.

From films with Māori characters like “Whale Rider” or the less intense “Eagle vs. Shark” (starring Jemaine Clement of “Flight of the Conchords fame,” who’s of Māori descent)…

GIFs via “Whale Rider” and “Eagle vs. Shark.”

…to dances like the Haka

Māori is the language of the indigenous people of New Zealand, and it shares cultural origins with the Haka that the national rugby team All Blacks performs. Have you seen ’em? GIFs via New Zealand All Blacks.

…to the hardcore tattoos, beautiful landscapes, cool art, and the Māori battalion from World War II.

Image via Imperial War Museum/Wikimedia Commons.

Also, the main writer on the new Disney princess movie “Moana,” Taika Waititi, is Māori!

It’s EASY to see a culture worth respecting.


That’s what it’s all about.

I agree with this kid. It’s not about being perfect. But what matters is that when given the chance to preserve a culture and show respect for your neighbors … you take it!

You try.

That’s true of pronouncing Māori, but it’s also true of life. Wisdom is all around us!

Kia ora!

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