Story: Translation and interpreting – te whakamāori ā-tuhi, ā-waha hoki

The merchant of Venice in Māori

Poetry is considered one of the most difficult forms of language to translate. Nevertheless, Pei Te Hurinui Jones translated Shakespeare's verse play The merchant of Venice into Māori in 1945. Don Selwyn directed the first stage performance in 1985, and a cinema version in 2001. This extract shows act one, scene two of Te tangata whai rawa o Weneti, in which Portia (in the red gown), a wealthy single woman, complains to her lady-in-waiting Nerissa (in red and gold) that she is not allowed to choose her own husband. Instead, according to her late father's will, prospective husbands must guess which of three chests contains her portrait. Portia criticises an English suitor for not knowing Italian or any of the other languages she speaks. 

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How to cite this page:

Mark Derby, 'Translation and interpreting – te whakamāori ā-tuhi, ā-waha hoki - Treaty of Waitangi, publications and Parliament', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 21 April 2024)

Story by Mark Derby, published 22 Oct 2014