New Zealand is a multi-cultural society and The Warehouse Group values the diversity of our people and places - it is what makes Kiwi culture unique. Our 12,000 team members reflect this diversity. We are part of many communities and, with 98% of New Zealanders shopping with us, we recognise that when we commit to a social change initiative, it gives us an opportunity to make an impact not only on our team members, but also wider New Zealand society.
Te Reo Māori is the indigenous language of New Zealand and one of our three official languages, but for a language to live it needs to be spoken and many indigenous languages worldwide are struggling for survival.
The Warehouse Group is committed to supporting the longevity of Te Reo Māori by growing the use of Te Reo Māori in our business on an ongoing basis, so our customers can experience a greater level of Māori language and culture when they shop with us.
Evelyn Ross, Chief People Officer at The Warehouse Group, is passionate about celebrating Maori Language Week. “Our business culture is at the heart of everything we do – it’s our Kaupapa – the lineage of us. We value diversity and we want to encourage a sense of whanau in what we do as individuals and as a team.”
The Warehouse Group will:
- Provide our 12,000 team members with access to Te Reo Māori basics and training and encourage the use of the language in their daily interactions with customers.
- Incorporate Te Reo Māori into all our The Warehouse self-checkouts.
- Introduce Te Reo Māori phrase cards to our store teams with Te Reo basics for everyday interaction.
- Eleven of our The Warehouse stores already have bilingual signage and we will continue to introduce Te Reo Māori elements within our store designs as changes are made.
Māori Language Week Origins
Māori Language Week began as part of the commemoration of the 1972 petition on the Māori Language to parliament. Hundreds of people now celebrate September as Mahuru Māori, in which they dedicate themselves to speaking only Māori.
The theme is 'Kia Kaha te Reo Māori’ following on from the success of last year’s theme ‘Kia Ora te Reo Māori’. ‘Kia Kaha’ is well known in New Zealand English with its correct Māori meaning of ‘be strong’. We often talk about languages as if they are people – talking about language health, strength and revitalisation. So, when we say ‘Kia Kaha te Reo Māori’ we’re saying - ‘Let’s make the Māori language strong'.