Te wiki o te reo Māori: how brands are giving a nod to the nation’s mother tongue

In the 2013 census, 21.3 percent of the population identified themselves as being able to converse in Māori, continuing a downward trend for the language. Now, in an effort to keep the language alive for generations to come, local brands are marking Māori Language Week with some lessons.


ANZ is challenging Kiwis to uphold te reo Māori by making the text in its ATM machines Māori.

To mark the language change, it employed the help of students at the primary school in Sylvia Park to create art to decorate the ATM machines on Queen Street. In the supporting campaign video, the kids explain their designs come from values endorsed by their Māori ancestors.


Nothing pronounces Māori names worse than Google Maps and other GPS devices, so Vodafone is on a mission to set it right. Featuring Temuera Morrison riding a cow, the telco has released a video explaining the need to protect Aotearoa’s national language how Kiwis can help.

He prompts the audience to visit Sayittika.co.nz, through which they can drop a pin on the cities and street names that need improved pronunciation.


Last month, Spark released a new brand platform in the form of an ad about how ‘little can be huge’ and now to mark Māori Language Week, the telco has translated the message in te reo.

Shared on Spark’s Facebook page, the video has been praised in the comment section for its beautiful use of the language and.

Maori Television

Māori Television has partnered with Fly to create a Giphy channel full of te reo Māori animated gifs in the hope of making te reo cool, or “whaka-cool-ngia te reo”.

Increasingly, millennials are communicating ideas through the animated typography and short video clips so Johnson McKay, creative director at Fly, says the team believed they would be the perfect way to engage millennials with te reo.

“We felt it has to fit in with their existing behaviours,” he says, “after researching and finding there weren’t any cool te reo Māori content available for people to easily share via social media, we pitched the concept to Māori Television”.

With over 75,000 views in the first weekend of its launch, the Giphy channel will be a long-term commitment to the revitalisation and normalisation of te reo by Māori Television.


TVNZ is also celebrating the week both on air and online. It’s partnered with Te Māngai Pāho to kick off a week-long campaign that will see its presenters pronouncing common phrases in 15-second clips.

There’s also a longer 30-second clip in which Jake Tame hits the streets to test his te reo whakahua (pronunciation) skills and to encourage the public to give it a go and have some fun with the language.

As well as the clips, TVNZ’s running a Snapchat competition to encourage its followers to have a go at te reo for the chance to win one of five $1000 Flight Centre vouchers.

Breakfast and Seven Sharp will also feature Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori stories, and TVNZ’s rebranded its flagship on-air channels for the week to TVNZ TAHI and TVNZ RUA.


It’s not just the country’s broadcasters celebrating Māori Language Week as Stuff’s decided it’s the perfect time to start using the language correctly.

Yesterday, it announced it would be introducing macrons to Māori words on Stuff and in its newspapers. The horizontal lines about some vowels indicate a longer vowel sound and their use not only shows respect to Stuff’s Māori audience, it will also encourage all readers to pronounce the words correctly.


Metservice is showing its support for Māori Language Week by translating the country’s towns and cities to Māori on its map. As well as learning what the weather is doing, visitor s to the site who don’t know the Māori name of their home will get an additional language lesson.

The Spinoff

The Spinoff is also helping Kiwis learn te reo by sharing a list of free or low-cost Māori courses. It’s also translated its website’s sections into Māori.

Did we miss any other interesting examples? Let us know in the comment section below. 

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