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Bilingual myth debunked

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14.08.2019

OPINION: At Twickenham in 1999 when Hinewehi Mohi had the audacity to sing the national anthem in Māori only, back home the country's foundations shook.

This was at a World Cup quarterfinal and none of the All Blacks could even hum the unaccustomed words.

Outrage erupted because Mohi ditched the English version, which, let's face it, is a colonial dirge from the blimming 1870s.

But this was 1999 and she had sung the te reo version off her own bat, later calling herself "an accidental activist".

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Ever since she has been erroneously credited as the pioneer of the Māori version, notably by the unapologetic Newshub lot in Auckland and as recently as a week or so ago on TV3's The Project. But now it is 20 years on, the claim is historically incorrect and as the old LV Martin jingle went, "it's the putting right that counts".

The first to sing it were Palmerston North's String of Pearls, Vicki Lee and Cyndi Joe, in 1992.

Lee had sung the anthem in English at the 1990........

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