Vodafone New Zealand and the Māori Language Commission have joined forces in a Mahi Tahi agreement to promote and revitalise the Māori language.
Vodafone NZ is the first international company to have a strategic partnership of this kind with the commission.
For Vodafone NZ CEO Russell Stanners, the agreement is an important step in ensuring Vodafone’s commitment to local roots is strengthened.
“We’re delighted to be part of this Mahi Tahi agreement with the commission. This commitment will strengthen our people’s connection to Aotearoa, the communities and customers we serve.
“Vodafone’s purpose is to connect for a better future.
“Our global value of ‘One Company, Local Roots’ is the company’s impetus for ensuring meaningful and authentic relationships with Māori, and recognises the unique role that te reo and tikanga play in New Zealand.
“We’re excited to be on this collaborative journey with the Māori Language Commission,” Russell said.
The commission’s chief executive Ngahiwi Apanui said it was heartening and exciting to work closely with a big company that is taking serious and genuine steps to increase the use, status and modern day relevance of the language.
“This is a big win for te reo Māori because here we have a company telling more than three million of their customers there’s a special place for the language in everyday life and in big business New Zealand.
“I commend Vodafone for creating a long term plan so they are walking their talk on te reo, that goes right to the top of their board of directors through to their workers on the ground, and for allocating a budget and resources to make sure that happens.”
Ngahiwi encouraged other big companies in New Zealand to take the time during the coming Māori Language Week campaign to start thinking about how they can support the growth of the language.”
“Te reo Māori is good for Aoteaoa and for businesses operating in this country but if we are to hear and see this taonga resonate throughout our nation again, we all need to work strategically together and that’s exactly what these mahi tahi agreements are about.”
“The theme for this year’s campaign is Kia Kaha Te Reo Māori which is about making the language strong. And I am hoping big businesses in this country will find the strength to step up and be champions for the language which is at risk of being lost.”
Vodafone’s diversity and inclusion lead Kirstin Te Wao believes the agreement reinforces the company’s long term commitment with the commission who have been sponsorship partners and language advocates with the commission since 2011.
“Embedding te reo Māori in any business operating in Aotearoa should be a priority and I’m delighted that Vodafone has taken this step towards long term change.
“Our long term commitment of increasing the cultural knowledge and use of te reo Māori enhances our unique identity as Kiwis on a global platform.
“We’re especially excited about the prospect of showcasing the Māori culture through the launch of the Hika Vodafone App to international colleagues visiting from overseas, it’s what sets us apart and is something every New Zealander can feel proud of,” Kirstin said.
Vodafone will be launching a staff app, Hika, on Monday (September 10) to engage the organisation in revitalising te reo. This means staff will have the opportunity to learn te reo and incorporate it into everyday life – at work and at home.