Maori Moons

I ran across a funny bit in An Introduction to Discourse Analysis by Malcolm Coulthard:

On one famous occasion a Maori group from a part of the country where women were allowed to speak was visiting another where women were not. The hosts opened the oratory but when it came to the guests’ turn there was a problem, for the most senior in rank was an old chieftainess. After a moment’s hesitation she began to speak. Immediately there was a protest from the hosts but the chieftainess calmly ignored them, continued her speech to the end and then said “You Arawa men, you tell me to sit down because I am a woman, yet none of you would be in the world if it wasn’t for your mothers. This is where your learning and grey hairs come from!”; then turning her back on them she bent over and flipped up her skirts ‘in the supreme gesture of contempt’.

This was used as an example of conversational rule breaking. Hmm, I never thought of that approach. If they don’t respect you, moon them. You go girl!