Air NZ only uses te reo Māori in-flight for first time ahead of Te Matatini kapa haka festival
Seth Gupwell
Seth Gupwell

Air NZ only uses te reo Māori in-flight for first time ahead of Te Matatini kapa haka festival

Great bit of history right here.

Air New Zealand made history earler this week when they ran a full flight with te reo Māori as the language of choice.

Pilots on flight NZ 1236 spoke in Te Reo, gate and in-flight announcements, in-flight services, and check-in kiosks all used Te Reo. The only English used was the Civil Aviation Authority's prescribed announcements. 

Everyone on the flight from Te Whanganui-a-Tara (Wellington) to Tāmaki Makaurau (Auckland) are performing or involved in the highly anticipated and distinguished kapa haka event Te Matatini, which starts tomorrow (22nd of Feb). 

According to Stuff, the passengers consisted of “two performing rōpū, Ngā Taonga Mai Tawhiti and Ngā Uri Taniwha, festival judges, and representatives from various organisations including Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori (the Māori Language Commission) and Te Mātāwai.”

At one point, the whole plane sang a waiata, which was shared on the Te Matatini Instagram account. 

Tupara Morrison, Air New Zealand’s lead of Māori development, said it was the best time he’s ever had flying from the capital to the City of Sails and hopes the festival can lift the Motu’s morale. 

“It was the most enjoyable flight from Wellington to Auckland that I’ve ever had,” he told Stuff. “This initiative that we did today shows the airline’s commitment to the promotion of the language and the partnership with Te Matatini is helping us to achieve that.”

“Hopefully a lot of the mauri from the festival is going to get to those in Te Tairāwhiti, Kahungunu and Hawke’s Bay and hopefully play a part in lifting the spirits of the people down there.”

Our George Te Ao Māori liaison Tīpare Ngā chatted with Lee & Tammy about Te Matatini:

As mentioned before, Te Mataini kicks off tomorrow at Eden Park in Tāmaki Makaurau and will go for three days, showing off “the best of the best in te ao kapa haka from right across Aotearoa and Australia,” according to their website.