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Matoran or Tohunga? Name preference.

Matoran or Tohunga? Name preference.  

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Hi, guys. You know, in 2001, when Bionicle first started, Matoran were once called Tohunga, but Maori people don’t like that name because it’s Maori for “priest”, despite the Matoran worshipping the Great Spirit Mata Nui, so Lego changed the name to “Matoran”, which is based on Mata Nui. Do you guys prefer to call the Matoran “Matoran” or “Tohunga”? Just asking. For me, Matoran because I’m fine with whatever change is official.

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So from what I have been able to see, Tohunga is not just a term for "priest" but it is also considered a Maori honorific. I.E. people who excel in arts and engineering skills might receive the title of Tohunga in Maori culture; not just religious practice. However it is most traditionally associated with traditional healers and medicinal practitioners. Take for example Pou Temara who has been called a modern Tohunga due to his specialization in academia especially in Maori genealogy. Or Te Taka Keegan who has been called a modern day Tohunga due to their skill in computer science. Basically, Tohunga is very culturally significant to the Maori since it has both a spiritual and secular connotation, and furthermore is a title they give to people only within their culture. 

So while I remember the phrase Tohunga for its use in 2001 Bionicle, I whole heartedly am fine with Matoran. Bionicle goofed up by taking Maori names, and I am glad Lego was able to compromise with them by allowing other names such as Toa to remain in use by Lego, by in turn removing Tohunga and replacing it with Matoran because of how sacred the Tohunga title is in their culture. Matoran might be a made up nonsense word, but it is wholly unique to Bionicle; and as the years went on I can only see Matoran now as well... Matoran. It is better to have Matoran and other unique names in Bionicle than to repeat using culturally sensitive names like Tohunga are. 

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I prefer Matoran, I think it sounds better, and I'm more used to it.

As a side note, I never made the connection that Matoran is derived from Mata Nui, that's interesting.


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On 4/23/2021 at 12:12 PM, Xboxtravis said:

 Matoran might be a made up nonsense word, but it is wholly unique to Bionicle; and as the years went on I can only see Matoran now as well... Matoran. It is better to have Matoran and other unique names in Bionicle than to repeat using culturally sensitive names like Tohunga are. 

I agree with this opinion here. Matoran is such a unique, fun word that belongs to Bionicle only.

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Posted (edited)

At first I preferred Tohunga, but it’s been Matoran for so long now that it comes naturally to me. I still think the Maori controversy was overblown (I don’t buy into the “cultural appropriation” thing, and I think that assuming all Maori people have the same opinion on any issue is actually kind of patronizing), so that’s not why. While 2001 is a very special year, “Tohunga” was only used for one year, while “Matoran” was used for ten, and continues to be used beyond. I still occasionally use “Tohunga” when specifically referring to the six initial sets, though.

Edited by Cheesy Mac n Cheese
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Posted (edited)
On 4/26/2021 at 11:58 PM, Cheesy Mac n Cheese said:

I don’t buy into the “cultural appropriation” thing

Well, it was Maori officials who took issue with it. Not random people getting offended on their behalf.
 

On 4/26/2021 at 11:58 PM, Cheesy Mac n Cheese said:

assuming all Maori people have the same opinion on any issue is actually kind of patronizing)

Who has made this assumption?

Edited by Lorentz

-L

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Posted (edited)
On 4/23/2021 at 1:12 PM, Xboxtravis said:

Matoran might be a made up nonsense word, but it is wholly unique to Bionicle

I think this is a really good point, which is why I guess I naturally gravitate towards matoran. I'm surprised no one has mentioned McToran yet, as I use that quite frequently :P Also, whenever I hear 'Tohunga' I think of only the 2001 Matoran, which is probably why I tend to lean towards using 'matoran' for all of the years

edit: Ironically enough, I just realized that my BZP rank just went from 'Tohunga' to 'Turaga' (I don't think it was ever 'Matoran')

Edited by Humble_Matoran

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On 4/23/2021 at 9:48 AM, Lenny7092 said:

You know, in 2001, when Bionicle first started, Matoran were once called Tohunga

Oh, wow, I wasn’t aware of this. The discrepancy confused me greatly when I first got into the sets. I prefer Matoran, it’s quite an endearing little name. ^_^
 


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I prefer Matoran, but for some reason I almost prefer Tohunga for the MNOG era? I guess because I had always heard that is what it was supposed to be at the time.

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Just now, Bambi said:

I prefer Matoran, but for some reason I almost prefer Tohunga for the MNOG era? I guess because I had always heard that is what it was supposed to be at the time.

Yes exactly! When I hear Tohunga i picture MNOG and Mctoran, but when I hear Matoran i picture the metrutoran and voyatoran etc

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:exclamation:currently searching for ANY Gray Plastic Krana Kal (GPKK):exclamation: If you were a member of Proto-squad, or know someone who was, please feel free to get in contact with me

 

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On 4/28/2021 at 3:56 PM, Lorentz said:

Well, it was Maori officials who took issue with it. Not random people getting offended on their behalf.
 

Who has made this assumption?

This is another topic for another...topic. Or forum...or site, frankly.

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My friend went to Po-Wahi and all I got was this lousy rock.

logowithbackgrounnd100.png

Blue sea...a Ruki leaps...the sound of water

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On 4/28/2021 at 9:40 PM, Humble_Matoran said:

Ironically enough, I just realized that my BZP rank just went from 'Tohunga' to 'Turaga' (I don't think it was ever 'Matoran')

Maybe BZP should update its rank name to Matoran.

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, Fyndegil said:

Maybe BZP should update its rank name to Matoran.

Yeah it should i prefer that

Edited by Bioniclefan7782

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Personally I think Matoran is fine. If I need to directly refer to the McDonald's toys I'll say "Tohunga" but Matoran is nice.

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Matoran. It costs nothing to be respectful. 
 

When it comes to cultural appropriation, the difference between acceptable and unacceptable depends on the norms of the culture being referenced or borrowed from. Using Japanese names or aesthetics is generally considered fine, as there is a high degree of cultural exchange between Japanese and Western cultures. With Maori, and some other cultures, the knowledge and language are considered cultural intellectual property, and use without permission is not only a moral but also legal violation.

I’m honestly surprised Lego got to keep words like  “Toa”, and I’d be fine with it if they changed those names in a hypothetical future reboot.


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I liked that Turaga/Toa/Tohunga started with the same letter, and Tohunga fit a bit better among the other 2001 words, but it's better to know I'm not disrespecting anybody.


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4 hours ago, (-Kopaka Toa of Ice-) said:

I know it's not related. But i hate that G2 tried to invent the Matoran with a less unique name like Protectors. Same with Master and Uniter of *element* instead of Toa thing

It was purely to save money on legal fees with name claims.


-L

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