“Kia ora” offends Queenstown retailer – BONZ

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(Waatea News) The Human Rights Commission has been asked to step in after a Queenstown clothing retailer complained about receiving an email addressed with the greeting kia ora.

The publisher of Travel New Zealand, Gary Cody, says one of his reps sent the email to Bonz trying to sell an ad.

Bonz owner Bonnie Rodwell responded by asking why she was being addressed with kia ora when she did not speak Maori, and she found the greeting disrespectful.

Mr Cody says he found it hard to believe that someone who relied on tourism is offended by the greeting, especially around Maori language week. Bonz stands for Best of New Zealand.

66 COMMENTS

  1. Shux Bonnie, Straight away that sounds like RACISM to me….I am a full blood Samoan from the Pacific Island, brought to NZ at 8 months old, and have only returned to my country in 1998. I am 33 years of age, have lived in NZ, represented my south Auckland school in a Cultural Exchange down in Darfield, South Island. Man its irritating, when a white person like you live in NZ, have a shop in NZ, have watched, listened on radios, talk shows and never knew that ‘KIA ORA’ was a native greeting for this beautiful green bilingual country ‘AOTEAROA’. @STEVE who commented 8th July…Did you not watch the television when JAPAN was interested in learning the NZ HAKA?? The Maori language is heard and spoken internationally, just like any other country, when you enter, you want to learn at least the basics and greetings especially, so for you who work in the beautiful town of Queenstown which tourists enjoy visiting should be proud to represent at least the greeting ‘KIA ORA’ which represents where you reside!!! I’m a Samoan who enjoys greeting everybody and anybody at work or public ‘KIA ORA’ because it’s beautiful.

  2. Kia ora koutou!

    Its time for Aotearoa – New Zealand to become a bilingual nation – so people like this can live in the real world of being bilingual, bi-cultural and bi-sensitive. We are unique, distinct and excellent at being Maori – and yes, this is where it starts and its everyone’s job to protect the Maori language – everyday! Time to vote for a government that wants New Zealand to be a bilingual nation – I’d have not hesitation in voting for that party to be in government!

    Kia ora e hoa ma!

  3. It shouldn’t really matter how we choose and what language we chose to greet each other, surely it is a sign of respect no matter what language we greet someone with! As our official language we need to be even more respectful of this. This person is so out of touch with reality and must have a very stressful life if this is something that offends them.

  4. While I don’t disagree with the comments, I think the problem is a bit broader – I see from the web that Ms Rodwell runs a boutique hotel in Australia too, and is about as charming in that line of business – see a recent reply to a disappointed couple who’d thought they had a wedding booking: http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g644409-d1419382-r168277544-Songbirds_Rainforest_Retreat-North_Tamborine_Scenic_Rim_Queensland.html. So it doesn’t seem to take much to offend.

  5. Kia ora…how could two words offend a person. Where is the disrespect in a greeting that is known worldwide and is heartfelt and warming to just about everyone who utters it. Ive lived overseas and happily adopted that countries greetings. Not ever once thinking that g’day or aloha was offensive to my being.
    Madam, perhaps you’ve taken the moral high ground a little bit too far and forgotten just where you are…(Aotearoa NZ), the industry that you work within… (Tourism NZ), and the people you rub shoulders with… Very Proud New Zealanders.

  6. i am a local Queenstowner representing a local accommodation establishment http://www.goodstays.co.nz and when we heard about this we were quiet embarrassed to say the least. I ofetern answer my phone with Ki ora. Anyway we don’t really understand where she is coming from??

    • And I guess that’s for her to know and her right.
      I suspect the greeting was ‘not’ the issue, but just a trigger that indicates a bigger issue.
      What the HRC has to do with it beats me, unless it’s to confirm the ladies rights?

  7. Ummmmm I don’t think you need to speak fluent Maori or even basic Maori to know what Kia Ora means. It is our national greeting, it is used by news readers to address the nation, politicians to address parliament and everyday people to say hello to each other. We hear it everyday and I bet if you ask any tourist about to board a plane to leave our wonderfully unique country “what it is the Maori word for hello” they will all say “Kia Ora”.

  8. Ummmmm I don’t think you need to speak fluent Maori or even basic Maori to know what Kia Ora means. It is our national greeting, it is used by news readers to address the nation, politicians to address parliament and everyday people to say hello to each other. We hear it everyday and I bet if you ask any tourist about to board a plane to leave our wonderfully unique country “what it is the Maori word for hello” they will all say “Kia Ora”. It is her choice if does not want to use Kia Ora but it is sad to think that she would use it against someone who decides to greet her her with Kia Ora.

  9. I hope everyone who goes passed her shop yells out Kia Ora to her.
    The arrogance of her makes me sick. My Sister went on a School trip down South with her Daughters Kura (Total Immersion)and they were staying at a camp site. Now this is a school that has to speak full Te Reo and while doing so, A pakeha man in his 70’s or so complained of it. When my sister asked about Asians speaking their own language, he said “oh that’s different” WTF, Honestly I think Maori’s are hated because we stand up to what’s ours and will always fight for it and they hate us for it.

      • That’s the point Steve – it DOES exist here though and is a part of who we are as much as European, PI, Indian, Chinese, blah blah blah. Be proud mate, that you come from such a unique place – that is the BIGGEST picture.

      • Really? When I was travelling in Mexico I was pleasantly surprised by the number of people who, upon asking where I came from, greeted me with “kia ora”. The Maori language is also understood in Hawaii and Rarotonga (the languages are very similar). Considering this woman is in New Zealand and was offended by a common usage greeting is, quite frankly, astounding. Oh, and ignorant.

        • This is so ignorant, bigoted, close-minded and ridiculous, it makes me want to throw up! What century do we live in people???? And what kind of a global society is it when we can’t even respect and speak each other’s languages?

      • You obviously don’t travel much, even Balinese people speak abit of Maori and they’re from a 3rd world country. Some Australian’s even say Kia Ora from time to time.

  10. Kia Ora to you Bonnie, you have a right to your opinion however, why in your business should you choose the word; BE WELL. Do you have any Maori themed items on sale in your shop. Good / bad advertising . . . Why?

    • Kati koutou ma, koinei te korero no Opotiki whanau; waiho ma te whakama e patu . . . Enough for now, as alluded to in this proverb from the Opotiki area; let her shame be her punishment . . . .

  11. You know people that make a big deal of Maori language week are usually from another country, they come here to live and complain about the Maori culture ect ect… and to justify this they then call themselves kiwis, so they can feel they have that right because they are white. REALLY!!!!
    Tell you what why don’t you go back to your own country and take your manure with you…

  12. You know people that make a big deal of Maori language week are usually from another country, they come here to live and complain about the Maori culture ect ect… and to justify this they then call themselves kiwis, so they can feel they have that right because they are white. REALLY!!!!
    Tell you what why don’t you piss off back to your own country and take your manure with you…

  13. This is so backward and immature to advance in life is to love life and all people. This is not a new thing Maori have been sacked for answering the phone with Kia Ora, have been punished at school for utterances that are just natural to who we are as a people and more importantly the Tangata whenua of Aotearoa. I can understand being offended at people huddled in the corner of her business speaking and laughing in a language she doesn’t
    understand but a simple greeting via email is classic. Just saying. Kia Ora

    • Kia ora, Rob! Very nicely put. We can even translate Kia Ora as “May the (life) force be with you.” 🙂

  14. her fashion sense leaves alot to be desired who would go in and buy when she wears mongrel mob colours and a sack to hide her flabby body.

  15. Morena Kotou Katoa

    Sorry lady you are in the wrong country to be throwing your weight arouond hehe lol, you know that old saying do as the Romans do, you will not find better workers than us Maori people, we are noted for our generosity and compassion, maybe you should allow us to shed you some of that love because that is what we are all about, AGAPE LOVE, im sorry you dont share that point of view. SAD FOR YOU

  16. Look. We live in New Zealand and the natives of our country is New Zealand Maori’s. I understand if you couldn’t read the whole email because it was written in Maori but it was just “Kia Ora”. Saying you are offended by the cultural greeting of the natives of our country is like going to Spain and being offended by “Hola”.

    If you have a real problem with any Maori or foreign words being spoken to you then I have 2 suggestions:
    1) Get out of the industry that deals with many different people.
    OR
    2) Move to some place where they do not say that.

    Please don’t say that my cultural greeting offends you because that offends me.

    God Bless and keep sharing the love and peace <3 🙂

  17. Yes everyone has a right to their own view, and some of ya’ll comments are almost threateningto the point of violence… To me its just dumb… Its your industrie and if anything you should be greeting your customers with kia ora too! Its almost like working at a Mc Donalds and being offended that customers are using terminology like big “mac”instead of big burger or “mc” chicken instead of just chicken burger!
    #PullYaHeadIn

  18. I think this women is about to get bombarded with Kia Ora from all over New Zealand..she’s bitten off more then she can chew, especially now that she has become well known nation wide…KIA ORA

  19. I hate that I’m forced to say “Hi” or “Hello” to people….when I’m not English. I’m offended when English people greet me that way – because it’s not my culture. It’s totally disrespectful.

  20. I hate that I have to say “Hi or Hello” to people, because I’m not English…I’m offended when people who are English say Hi or Hello to me…It’s not my culture..it’s disrespectful.

  21. We are kiwi’s living in oz, and to see this from back home is sad. We mozzies talk ‘up’ NZ to all our friends and the great place it is, so for her to make a complant about KIA ORA which is a recognised greeting throughout the country is very small minded. will be recommending austrailian friends (tourists) stay away from her store

  22. PERSONALLY I FEEL SORRY FOR HER….BECAUSE I DON’T THINK SHE REALIZES THE CAN OF WORMS SHE HAS OPENED FOR HERSELF OR HER BUSINESS!

    SHE FEELS DISRESPECTED AS SHE WAS ADDRESSED WITH THE WORD “KIA ORA” AS SHE DOES’NT SPEAK OUR LANGUAGE & LAID A COMPLAINT! SHE HAS A RIGHT TO DO SO & HAVE HER VIEWS HEARD JUST LIKE US!

    BUT SADLY….BEING MAORI HER ACTIONS HAVE OFFENDED US BECAUSE OF WHO WE ARE & OUR LANGUAGE! AND FACT IS WE ARE THE INDIGENOUS PEOPLE OF NEW ZEALAND – AOTEAROA – THE LAND OF THE LONG WHITE CLOUD!

    OUR TIPUNA (ANCESTORS) AND OUR PEOPLE TODAY HAVE ALL WORKED HARD TO FORGE & KEEP OUR TIKANGA AND LANGUAGE ALIVE! AND THEREFORE OUR LANGUAGE IS BEING SPOKEN IN OUR SCHOOLS, HOMES, WORK PLACES, COMMUNITIES AND EVEN IN OUR BUSINESSES! & THEREFORE NEW ZEALAND TOURISM WIDE!

    MY ANCESTOR APIRANA NGATA – NGATI PAROU WORKED HARD AND HIS HARD WORK WONT GO IN VAIN UNLESS WE ALLOW IT!

    I BELIEVE PEOPLE NEED TO BE EDUCATED TO AVOID THESE THINGS HAPPENING!
    I THINK WE ALSO NEED TO USE COMMON SENSE For eg: You won’t hear me ordering takeaway in My mother tongue for obvious reasons…

    So Human Rights Commission “DO WHAT’S RIGHT! and Miss, Ms or Mr’s Rodwell (I don’t want to offend you) …It’s not hard to apologize??? Is it????

    AND LASTLY, AS MUCH AS WE CAN BE OFFENDED…WE CAN ALSO BE FORGIVING…

    MAURI ORA XO

    • I disagree about Maori being the indigenous people of this country. They and their ancestors, like us white kiwi peoples ancestors sailed here many years ago, therefore they are settlers the same as us and as such even in my humble opinion they have the right to greet or be greeted in their own language. I love debating this one. As well as this they were I think before us ….just lol

      Anyway bro and bros
      Kia Ora.

    • Nadine Puha, nice response BUT for the apology and HRC reference.

      We need to ‘harden up’ and stop all super sensitive self righteous bull as if we are perfect and never offensive.
      Was listening/watching Parliament on TV recently. I noticed a sign person for the deaf (an official language), not needed as I can hear. Then a speaker spoke at length in Maori and I felt totally disrespected as the speaker deliberately chose to communicate in a manner that they new disenfranchised me, rendered me incapable of knowing what was being said in ‘our Parliament’. I didn’t lodge a complaint with the HRC. Yes, Maori is an official language and I haver NO issue with it’s use. I do have an issue with someone choosing not to respect the fact that I have no idea what they are talking about, that no one makes any effort (subtitles) t ensure do. As I understand it, all Maori understand and are able to communicate in English, therefore surely it’s not too much to ask that I be considered? or is that an HRC issue on my part also?

      Respect must go both ways,.

  23. Lucky Shes not in the North Island,We rely on both cultures .If we don’t work side by side someone always suffer.
    A women who ran a pub up this way was bad mouthing Maoris,Within 5 years she went bankrupt.They put it on the market for years an still couldn’t sell it ,now her an husband have closed the doors forever.My pointy is Dont bite the hand that feeds you lady.Shame shame shame on you!!!

    • Considering her business is aimed at foreign tourists, and what mainly tend to be the high end of the Asian & American markets, Kiwis “boycotting” will not do her any harm

  24. If you dont like it. I have a solution to your problem. Go home to the land of your ancestors. New Zealand is Maori. Live with it.

  25. Aue! hahahaha that is unethical business practice in terms of customer service and being able to communicate with different cultures including language barriers.

  26. KIA ORA BONZ, all the way from Australia. Maybe you had better leave AOTEAROA, and move to Australia. Here you will learn so many more languages, that you would not complain so much. How ridiculous are you, especially when you relie so such on the Tourism Industry for your survival. BIG MISTAKE, BIG MISTAKE. You have managed to ruin your business and your survival all by yourself, CONGRADULATIONS. KA KITE………..

  27. I love all the ‘I’m offended at her being offended!’ comments. I’m offended at your being offended at her being offended, unless that offends you.If that is the case then I am sorry for you being offended at me being offended that you were offended by her being offended, and so on…

  28. Yes she is entitled to her view, but shes laid a complaint!! She needs to get real. Shes obviously offended that its a maori word because ‘Kia Ora’ actually means ‘Be Well’. Maybe if she was willing to understand a bit more, she may appreciate the meanings of words. The next greeting should read ‘kia tiko’!

    • LADY When in Rome do what the Romen’s do
      Really Lady!!! do you know where you are

      AOTEAROA – TANGATA WHENUA – KOTAHITANGA

      Maori me nga Pakeha Tuhonohono Matou

      Norei ra Tena Koe, Tena Koe, Tena Koe

    • Considering her business is aimed at foreign tourists, and what mainly tend to be the high end of the Asian & American markets, Kiwis “boycotting” will not do her any harm

  29. Kia ora koutou I feel offended that a person doe’s not know what,s going in Aoteroa. It is an official language on our whenua so where’s the problem, it can only be with the person he or herself. I think those day’s of separation has gone and we need too unite as our tupuna for many years have fought for it too make the nation we are today. I hope we don’t go back too those hey days we will not move forward too make the nation we have been striving for years. So those that want’s too go back you are welcome but leave us alone yep Kia ora ra

  30. This is M?ori language week. I feel offended that someone can be offended by the words Kia ora. If you work in the tourism business these are the words you should be using. Kia kaha and start learning the Maori culture if your going to be in tourism. Ako te Reo!

  31. Kia ora!
    Well this person stands n runs her business on my ancestral lands . The words are our way of meeting n all kiwis greeting. She should pack up everything n as a boat people descendent leave NZ N DONT COME BACK.
    Chief RUATAIKA TARAMEA JONES.

    • Well said Taika Jones, plenty of planes leave everyday lady, if you don’t like New Zealand there is a way out. Obviously a pretty sad woman if she has to lay complaints over something so stupid

  32. It is hard to believe that anyone would be offended by the Maori greeting, kia ora .. this form of greeting is known all over the world. What words caused the offence? Does the Human Rights Commission have more important complaints to consider than this trivial matter. I am astounded that this should even have been considered!!!

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