Listen closely to rugby league or union broadcasts and you'll notice there's a positive shift happening in footy commentary.
The NRL celebrate Multicultural Round this week, recognising the many different backgrounds of players. A large portion have heritage from New Zealand and the Pacific Islands with 45 per cent of the NRL identifying as Pasifika. Despite dominating Australian sport for so long, it's not until recently that it appears proper respect is being paid to the pronunciation of the names of these athletes.
Any commentator worth one's salt now knows it's no longer satisfactory to simply wing it and butcher names, especially when players are finally speaking up, proudly sharing the correct pronunciation.
Kiwi Jessica Macartney from the Ingoa Project has been on a mission to eradicate poor pronunciation of Maori and Pasifika names in footy, by running a not-for-profit, five-session online course with members of the media who want to learn. Some of the biggest names in NRL media, including from the major networks have sought her tuition.
"It had annoyed me for so long, and one of my friends said if it annoys me so much to do something about it - so I took her advice," she said of the concept.
"No-one's actually asking for perfection but what the community is now expecting is a genuine effort to get this correct."
Instead of leaning on phonetic guides, Macartney aims to share knowledge about the culture and language together as a more efficient way to learn.
"Then no matter what team list is in front of you, you can read it without relying on anyone else," she said.
"We can talk about the negatives of saying something incorrectly, but the positives are that you build trust, positive relationships, and mutual respect, and that's something we should all strive for in Australia."
Brumbies star Allan Alaalatoa said he simply "became used to" hearing his name said incorrectly when growing up.
"But then to hear now that people are actually pronouncing it correctly, it just means so much to me as a player and it means a lot to my family," he said. "It's really special."
Alaalatoa said it can also send a message to kids watching rugby at home who may have a name of similar heritage.
"It actually might give a lot of the Pacific Islander kids motivation to want to play and be proud to be on TV, understanding that their names will be respected," he said.
"Our names are something that have been passed down through generations."
Raider Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad is a unique case as a New Zealand-born man of Cook Islands, Maori and Norwegian descent, because it wasn't until 2020 that he learned the correct pronunciation of his name.
The second part of his surname is correctly pronounced 'Klook-stahd' and now he always introduces himself as such.
"Growing up I had my name mispronounced. But as I've gotten older, I've gotten to know who I am and what makes me, me - and a big part of that is my name," Nicoll-Klokstad said.
"That's my identity that links me to certain cultures. It's important for me that people know that."
His Raiders teammate and proud Maori Joe Tapine has also endured some shocking interpretations, though found it hard when he was coming through the ranks to call people up on their mistake.
"The worst I get is 'Tah-pin-yay'," he said.
"Ever since I came over to Australia, it's been pronounced wrong, and it's a big deal for my family. Then it was hard for me to try and correct it when it's said wrong so many times. But I feel like they're taking the right step forward. They put in an extra effort now."
What frustrated Tapine more was when he started to receive questions from fans, asking him why Nicoll-Klokstad and another Raiders teammate Josh Papalii "had changed their names".
Samoan and Australian international Papalii has played over a decade in the NRL and for much of that time 'Pap-ah-lee' is how his name was yelled excitedly into microphones by commentators. However he reminded media that the correct pronunciation is 'Pup-uh-lee-ee', and finally, they've got it down.
"They need to understand that they're not changing their names, they're just asking for people to pronounce it right," Tapine said.
Even club legend and Raiders wellbeing and education officer Sia Soliola has had the same hurdles. Back in Samoa his family are amused by the shortening of his first name in Australia, because it is more often a female name.
"A lot of people don't know it's Iosia, which is Maori for Josiah," the former Samoan and New Zealand international said.
"At school I used to put up my hand when they did roll call because I didn't want the teacher to try and say my name.
"But the shift that is coming in the NRL, it's giving everyone a real understanding of how much influence Maori and Pasifika players are having in this game."
Like many with minority backgrounds, Soliola said he always did what was "convenient for everyone", ahead of his own values about family and culture. It's not uncommon, according to Dr Roannie Ng Shiu, a human geographer at the Australian National University whose work focuses on sport in Australasia and the Pacific region.
"Sometimes we can be a bit too shy and compliant, but saying names correctly just adds a bit more mana (respect)," she said.
"Our names reflect historical genealogies that run generations, and a lot of them come from chiefly titles and mana within names."
Dr Ng Shiu said there's been positive cultural exchange between Australia and Pacific nations, and sport is an excellent way to continue to promote this.
"The NRL and rugby union is uniquely placed in providing a platform for Pacific players to become cultural brokers between Pacific communities and Australia," she said.
The benefits go both ways too, not only for the players, but also for the game.
"Sport is a very important part of the social fabric of Australia, so you'd want to embrace cultures and support Pacific and Maori athletes staying in touch with that to help them be even more successful," Dr Ng Shiu said.
"The more of a norm rather than a novelty something like correct pronunciation becomes, then it'll be more beneficial to social and cultural cohesion between Pasifika and Australian people."
Or as Nicoll-Klokstad said, "it's little steps towards a bigger goal."
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