MONDAY 20th FEBRUARY, 2023
Araraurangi | Air New Zealand takes Te Reo Māori to new heights for Te Matatini
Today, Araraurangi | Air New Zealand will operate its first flight fully dedicated to te reo Māori.
In partnership with Te Matatini, charter flight NZ 1236 will bring 171 passengers from Te Whanganui-a-Tara to Tāmaki Makaurau for Te Matatini Herenga Waka Herenga Tangata, the most prestigous kapa haka (Māori performing arts competition).
On the flight are two performing rōpū – Ngā Taonga Mai Tawhiti and Ngā Uri Taniwha, kaiwhiriwhiri (judges), and representatives from various organisations including Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori (the Māori Language Commission) and Te Mātāwai.
Air New Zealand Māori Development Lead Tupara Morrison says the airline is proud to support Te Matatini and the revitalisation of te reo Māori with this special flight for what is the 50-year anniversary of the festival.
“Except for Civil Aviation Authority prescribed announcements, the only language spoken by the pilots and cabin crew will be te reo Māori.”
“From check-in on our Kiosks, to gate and inflight announcements, to inflight service – we’ll be sharing te reo Māori throughout the entire journey. Our people have really led the charge in owning their part of the experience.”
“We also have Air New Zealand employees onboard who are kaihaka (performers) at the festival, so we expect there will be a fair bit of waiata lifting spirits during what is a difficult time for Aotearoa.”
Te Matatini is widely considered “the Olympics” of kapa haka performance, with teams coming from around the country to compete. The festival is a place of community and connection for Māoridom and Te Matatini is supporting kapa haka impacted by Cyclone Gabrielle to participate.
Te Matatini Chairman Herewini Parata says Te Matatini is proud to work in collaboration with Air New Zealand on arranging the airline’s first ever te reo Māori flight to Auckland ahead of Te Matatini at Eden Park from 22 to 25 February.
“Through this collaboration we can align our strategic goals, and showcase our unique Māori language and culture, through the very best in kapa haka excellence.”
Air New Zealand and Te Matatini have been working together since 2018 to develop and showcase the Te Matatini festival as New Zealand’s premium cultural event and promote Aotearoa New Zealand to the world.
Five of the airline’s Tohu Reo pin wearers will be part of the flight experience. The pin is worn by Araraurangi employees who have demonstrated fluency in te reo Māori. It identifies staff who are te reo Māori speakers to Air New Zealand’s customers and is worn with pride and purpose.