Maeva - Cultural Appropriation?

I love the name [name_f]Maeva[/name_f] and assumed it was simply related to [name_f]Maeve[/name_f] so I was surprised to discover it is a Tahitian word name (meaning welcome). I’m the sort who would like to be as culturally sensitive as possible and I don’t want to gift my child a name that would be inappropriate. I’ve done a bit of googling but can’t seem to find the answer to this. Does anyone know if [name_f]Maeva[/name_f] would be culturally insensitive? Does the word hold deep meaning for Tahitians?

If relevant, we’d intend to pronounce it MAY-vah, which is not what I presume the Tahitian pronunciation would be (possibly Mah-Ev-ah)

I think it’s fine. It’s not to my knowledge culturally sacred in any way- I think it’s just a word (though maybe there’s a Tahitian berry out there that knows more!) If [name_f]Maeva[/name_f] didn’t exist in the Tahitian language, I think it would likely still be used as a name because of its similarity to [name_f]Maeve[/name_f], [name_f]Eva[/name_f], [name_f]Mae[/name_f], and [name_f]Ava[/name_f]. [name_f]Maeva[/name_f] seems more like it’s incidentally Tahitian, like “[name_u]Love[/name_u]” in today’s blog is a Swedish name that’s incidentally an English word. A name like Maupihaa (one of the Tahitian islands) would be very unlikely to exist as a name without [name_f]Tahiti[/name_f], but I’m sure people have chosen [name_f]Maeva[/name_f] without even knowing it’s a Tahitian word.

It is great to see a consideration of cultural appropriation and appropriateness in naming! I wish that would be a consideration that passed through more people’s minds.

That being said, I don’t know how much insight I can offer here. I don’t know anything in particular about Tahitian culture, linguistics, or naming practices, for instance. However, I am left wondering is [name_f]Maeva[/name_f] also happens to be an accepted variation on [name_f]Maeve[/name_f]? Given that there are a finite number of letters in the (Latin) alphabet there will always be some crossover. Cultural appropriation has a lot to do with knowingly taking something from another culture and passing it off as your own, or even just failing to do appropriate research. The responsibility to educate yourself is a big one, particularly when historic power dynamics are involved.

Allllll that being said I think you are okay. [name_f]Maeva[/name_f] is not a name that is recognizably drawn from another culture or referencing another culture (such as [name_f]India[/name_f] or [name_m]Jesus[/name_m] or something), and does just appear to be a variation of [name_f]Maeve[/name_f]. I also would argue that swapping one vowel for another in [name_f]Maeve[/name_f] doesn’t make it a new name, but a new version of an existing name. Names, like language, are a living entity, and open to reinterpretation (which is why the idea of “made up” names is so ironic). Although the very occasional person may recognize [name_f]Maeva[/name_f] as a Tahitian name, most people would find the explanation that you preferred the sound of [name_f]Maeve[/name_f] with a different ending as better.

I think this is a case where you are fine, but if the idea of possibly being called out would always make you uncomfortable I suggest finding another name.

[name_f]Maeva[/name_f] is also widely used in [name_f]France[/name_f], so I think you’re safe. It can also be a variant of [name_f]Maeve[/name_f] or a shortened form of [name_f]Marie[/name_f]-[name_f]Eva[/name_f].

I agree it’s nice to see such consideration though! [name_f]Maeva[/name_f] is a really beautiful name, good luck.

Either way I think [name_f]Maeve[/name_f] looks normal and [name_f]Maeva[/name_f] looks… Different. I would think it was the girl version of [name_f]Maeve[/name_f] if anything.

Thanks for the responses! Really helped us in deciding for sure on [name_f]Maeva[/name_f]. I just love it. Now to figure out the name of Boy twin.

I’m fairly certain this is also a variant of [name_f]Maeve[/name_f].

I’m [name_m]French[/name_m] and in my country [name_f]Maeva[/name_f] is a really commom name. ([name_f]Tahiti[/name_f] belongs to [name_f]France[/name_f]) i think it’s a nice name, if you like it you should definitely use it.