Kia ora

The Herald reports:

A publisher was “gobsmacked” to receive a complaint about using a Maori greeting in an email to a prospective client.

A sales representative for Travel New Zealand sent an email to Queenstown clothing retailer Bonz requesting advertising support. The email began: “Kia ora …”

Bonz owner Bonnie Rodwell replied: “Sorry but why do we need to be addressed with Kia ora?

“Neither myself or [my office manager] speak Maori. Maybe more people would advertise with you if we were addressed with a little more respect. Whilst we have no issue with anything ‘Maori’ at all, we find it plain silly.”

A bloody silly response. Many Maori words are now commonly used by non-Maori. I use whanau and mana regularly. Kia ora is absolutely common place.

Travel New Zealand publisher Gary Cody says he was “absolutely gobsmacked” by Rodwell’s response last Thursday on the eve of this week’s Maori Language Week.

“I couldn’t believe that someone who relied on tourism is offended by that greeting,” Mr Cody said. He had complained to the Human Rights Commissioner, he said.

But that is equally a silly response. Why the hell would you complain to the HRC because a company expressed a negative view on your use of Kia Ora? Does Travel NZ think they shouldn’t be allowed to have a view contrary to their own?

I think both sides are being pretty stupid. Sending in an e-mail of complaint is stupid, but complaining to the HRC because they complained is equally stupid. They should both grow up.

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