The Warehouse straight up told people to 'have a beer day' with Māori misspelling on a notebook
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The Warehouse straight up told people to 'have a beer day' with Māori misspelling on a notebook

We've all had a 'beer day' we probably shouldn't have, right?
13 June 2023 12:57PM

The Warehouse has apologised after a bit of a spelling mishap on one of their Māori notebooks. 

The greeting that they wanted on the cover was 'kia pai te rā' which means 'have a good day' in English.

However, the notebook's cover read 'Kia pia te rā' which translates to 'have a beer day'.

The letters 'a' and 'i' from 'pai' were the other way around, changing the meaning of the phrase to a whooooole different thing.

The product was hastily removed from the shelves and from online after the typo was discovered, and The Warehouse has released a statement acknowledging their mistake.

"The Warehouse is committed to having both English and te reo Māori on our private label products and packaging, and we work in partnership with a Māori translation service to guide us on the hundreds of products we offer to our customers", said Caitlin Madden, the company's communications advisor.

She also added that they have changed the way they involve Te Reo.

"Our current [Māori] partners were not involved in that [kia pia te rā] process. But it is a real journey for us and we've been changing our ways so we can include more structure and rigour."

Since they caught the mistake quite early, the notebook has not reached to all their stores and just a small number of notebooks have been sold. 

Te reo Māori expert and Māori language commission chairwoman Rawinia Higgins' first reaction was:

"Oh dear".

Rawinia shared how she want to encourage people through this incident, rather than calling them out and taking it negatively:

"I think we know of examples where this has happened.

"We also know the exposure it brings, particularly on social media platforms where there are criticisms.

"So I can't say that it doesn't happen, but I like to think that as people start to engage with the language and want to promote the language on products, that they are thinking through some quality assurances of using that language because of course it can definitely draw a lot of negativity.

"From my perspective, from the commission, we would encourage people to use the language as much as possible, however, instigate a process of ensuring that there's quality assurance and when in doubt in seeking that sort of support, to reach out to the commission."

And we tautoko that!

If you're someone who's learning te reo Māori or any other language, know that it's okay to make mistakes. Misspelling or mispronouncing is part of the learning journey, and you should not let it stop you from learning the language!