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.
20 February 2023

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.



Issued by Air New Zealand Communications.

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About Air New Zealand

Air New Zealand's story started in 1940, first taking to the skies between Auckland and Sydney on a flying boat - a Short S30. Known for its warm Kiwi hospitality, today, the airline has 104 operating aircraft ranging from Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners and Airbus A320s to ATRs and Q300s, offering customers comfort in the latest most efficient jets and turboprops. It's a modern fuel-efficient fleet with an average age of 7.3 years. Air New Zealand's global network of passenger and cargo services centres around New Zealand. Pre-Covid, the airline flew more than 17 million passengers every year, with 3,400 flights per week. Air New Zealand was recently named the World's Safest Airline by the Australian rating service, highlighting the airline's laser-focus on safety. Last year, Air New Zealand won Best Corporate Reputation in New Zealand – 8th year in a row.

Air New Zealand has a well-connected domestic business, connecting customers and cargo to 20 different regions around New Zealand. Internationally, the airline has direct flights to major cities across Australia, Asia, the Pacific Islands and the US, and through its strong relationships with alliance partners, offers customers more choice and convenience to connect further afield to hundreds of destinations. Air New Zealand has a particular focus on sustainability and its Sustainability Framework  helps guide the airline's efforts in tackling some of New Zealand's and the world's most complex challenges. Air New Zealand aircraft are proudly identified by its distinct tail livery of the Mangōpare, the Māori symbol of the hammerhead shark which represents strength, tenacity, and resilience.


About Star Alliance

Air New Zealand is proud to be a member of Star Alliance. The Star Alliance network was established in 1997 as the first truly global airline alliance to offer worldwide reach, recognition and seamless service to the international traveller. Its acceptance by the market has been recognized by numerous awards, including the Air Transport World Market Leadership Award and Best Airline Alliance by both Business Traveller Magazine and Skytrax. The member airlines are: Aegean Airlines, Air Canada, Air China, Air India, Air New Zealand, ANA, Asiana Airlines, Austrian, Avianca, Brussels Airlines, Copa Airlines, Croatia Airlines, EGYPTAIR, Ethiopian Airlines, EVA Air, LOT Polish Airlines, Lufthansa, Scandinavian Airlines, Shenzhen Airlines, Singapore Airlines, South African Airways, SWISS, TAP Portugal, Turkish Airlines, THAI and United. Overall, the Star Alliance network currently offers more than 18,500 daily flights to 1,321 airports in 193 countries.