Diyari yawarra tharla: Maranguka

Colleague, and previous contributor to the Dieri language blog, David Nash, has pointed out that there is a social action proposal developed in Bourke, western New South Wales, that has a name that comes from the Dieri language, namely “Maranguka”. The project website says:

“Maranguka was the birth child of the Bourke Aboriginal Community Working Party, a grassroots coalition of concerned local Aboriginal residents who wanted to see positive change in their community.

Translated as ‘caring for others’, the Maranguka proposal they developed is a grassroots vision for improving outcomes and creating better coordinated support for vulnerable families and children through the true empowerment of the local Aboriginal community.

The Maranguka Proposal was endorsed in principle by the Bourke Aboriginal Community Working Party in August 2013. It involves establishing community-led, multi-disciplinary teams working in partnership with relevant government and non-government agencies and organisations”

According to the preliminary assessment report “Unlocking the Future: Maranguka Justice Reinvestment Project in Bourke” written by KPMG, the name comes from the “local Ngemba Aboriginal language” (the Ngiyampaa language belongs to central New South Wales, some distance to the east of Bourke –see the map here). As David Nash notes, this is wrong and in fact the name comes from the Dieri word maranguka ‘to help, to offer assistance’. This is a transitive verb in Dieri and takes a subject (usually in the ergative case) and an object (in the accusative or absolutive case), as in the examples: ngathu yinha marangukalha nganayi ‘I will help you’ and nganha marangukanimayi! ‘(You all) help me!’.

Quite a number of Dieri people live in Bourke so it is not surprising that a name (tharla) in the Dieri language would be used for this development — it’s a pity that the KPMG report identified the source incorrectly.