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What’s In A Name?
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A common question about our scheme is “Why are we named Maia Maia and why is our currency called the Boya?”
first answer to this question is related to the history of the
organisation. We had originally been thinking about creating a school
based carbon credit scheme with reductions in school emissions tied to a
fund raiser by businesses that wanted to offset their emissions. A
fellow named John Croft at the Gaia Foundation Western Australia
suggested that rather than create a permission for someone else to
pollute, that we could instead create a community currency that would
continue to circulate as people traded it and thereby keep the story
alive. Wow! This is where the whole idea came from! John further
suggested we call the organisation Maia Maia because that was the
indigenous Nyungar word for home or shelter which is synonymous with
‘Eco’ in Latin. So the first answer to where the name Maia Maia comes
from is that it is John’s fault. To thank him we asked the Gaia
Foundation WA to be the issuer of our first Boya issue with John as the
similar story relates to our naming the currency the Boya. We were
uncomfortable using an Aboriginal term for our name without permission
so we visited Neville Collard, a local Nyungar Elder, to ask for it.
Neville said that he didn’t see a problem with us calling the
organisation Maia Maia, but that we had to call the currency Boya. Boya
was the name for rock trading tokens that the Nyungar traditionally
traded and is likely the oldest known form of currency given that the
peoples of Western Australia have the longest unbroken oral histories of
anywhere on the planet. So the answer to where the name Boya comes from
is that it is Neville’s fault. To thank him we are encouraging issuers
to include a traditional ‘Welcome to country’ when announcing a carbon
reduction plan and we hope this will become a standard practice.
interesting story of discovery follows. It turns out that the word
Maia has it’s own symbolic pedigree that we hadn’t suspected.
is the Seventh sister of the Pleiades constellation. The story of the
Pleiades, it turns out, is similar in indigenous cultures the world over
including many Australian Aboriginal groups. There is a great book on
this by an Aboriginal writer Munya Andrews. The story is always about Seven Sisters.
Pleiades is the first documented constellation, with the star
configuration occurring in the cave painting in Lascaux,
the Greek legend, Maia is the daughter of Atlas, who holds up Gaia, and
Pleione, nymph of the Oceans. Maia nurtured Arcas who was the patron
of crafts and beekeeping, and as a result Maia means “midwife” in Greek.
connection with bees through Arcas is due to the geodesic structure of
honeycomb where each point on a hexagon plus the focus are identified as
the stars of the Pleiades. Since Buckminster Fuller is the inventor of
both the Geodesic Dome and emissions reduction currency this is an
unexpected connection to the history of ideas for emission reduction currency.
Bees are called hymenoptera after this connection between bees and the
Pleiades but this is a long story.
Roman Mythology, Maia is the wife of Vulcan, God of Energy, and her
son is Hermes, God of Storytelling and communication and she is
often identified as the Earth Goddess. In Latin, maia means springtime
and growth. Does the symbolism get any better than this?
- In Urdu, “maia” means “money”.
are many other interesting associations, but the point being that the
accidental symbolism in our name, Maia Maia, while being local in
derivation is also global, goes far back in time, and is eerily
supportive of our mission. As it turns out it is exceedingly appropriate name for the worlds
first global-local currency!