Rahui, rather than lockdown

fern frond0401

Fern frond; symbol of new life and new possibilities. Image: Su Leslie 2019

I read a few days ago a suggestion that instead of referring to our current situation as a lock-down, we could perhaps use the Maori word Rahui.

Rahui (raa·hoo·ee): to put in place a temporary ritual prohibition, closed season, ban, reserve – traditionally a rāhui was placed on an area, resource or stretch of water as a conservation measure or as a means of social and political control … (Maori Dictionary)

Language matters. How we describe our situation affects how we feel about it. Rahui embodies a believe that restrictions now will make for a better future. That’s a lot easier for me to get behind than a term that belongs in the language of incarceration.

PS: apologies for my lateness with The Changing Seasons. I’m sure I’m not the only one finding this a difficult month to write about.

45 thoughts on “Rahui, rather than lockdown

  1. The word lockdown makes me feel rather claustrophobic. Rahui is much better. I like the idea of it being for conservation.
    I haven’t started my Changing Seasons post yet either. I’m focusing on the microcosm rather than the macro at the moment. But I’ll get around to my month eventually. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. As a great believer in THE WORD (I’d propose a whole post on the meanings of the word WORD, a conversation we often have with Hero Husband and HIS layout and comprehension/ understanding of words in the 3 languages we share on a daily basis)

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  3. sorry, was writing comment on smartphone – never a good idea and I hit the send…. by error.
    Wanted to go back and finish 1st sentence: As a great believer in the WORD I can only agree wholeheartedly with this definition. It’s also a beautifully sounding word. Infinitely lovelier and more promising than lockdown or shutdown. Although, when phoning with my mum daily and talking about the very small things happening in our now micro-communities, I always ask her How was your walk in the prison yard?, because their only way of going out is effectively in the small ‘garden’ of a few squ.metres with a fence around it. It was ‘built’ only last year when her ‘senior home’ enlarged their buildings with a section for people with heavy dementia to enable them and their carers, to go out in a safe area, where these patients cannot get lost or walk off. I shall now NOT call it prison yard any longer, but need to explain to mum the new word Rahui-Park first!


  4. re my former bracket about the word’s meanings….. it’s a life time occupation to ‘sort out’ the meanings of words in different languages but even in a language you share. Even the word WORD is used in so many ways, I learnt. In French (my Swiss husband’s mother tongue) LA PAROLE is used generally for many things, but e.g. in the bible it’s called THE VERB (le verbe) for saying many things: to do something as in a ‘verb’, the gospel, the message (also THE GOOD MESSAGE, la bonne parole), and many more. It also has to be said that HH often is very upset with me because he ‘hears’ something totally different to what I was saying…. because his interpretation is different (and always in a negative sense, which – in turn – infuriates me because he sd know better than assuming what he is…. 🙂 ). So, in short, we’ll never run out of conversation topics – and I just read to him your post – he does agree with you (and me! – hurrah!)


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  6. Thanks for this, Su. I love the term Rahui rather than lockdown. Though here in California, we under a “Shelter In Place” order, which is also much more palatable than the term lockdown. Words do matter. They can define our perceptions and alter our thoughts. Thank you for this post!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Love this idea! I’ve been saying this word out loud to get used to the sound of it. Rahui is SO much better then lockdown. I refuse to allow any negativity in my life and that lockdown word is extremely negative. Thank you SO much for this! I’m going to do a post on this as well. I came up with “Protective Home Nesting” but that is a mouthful. (smile)

    Liked by 1 person

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