Māori place names to stay on MetService website

By Elizabeth Ormond

MetService homepage will display English and te reo Māori place names. Photo / NZME

Te reo Māori names are to have a permanent home on MetService's website.

The nation's weather authority paid tribute to Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori (Māori language week) last month.

Users on MetService's main page will come across a map of New Zealand with English place names displayed. As they hover their cursor over a specific area, a te reo Māori name appears.

MetService pou ārahi Francene Wineti (Te Atihaunui-a-Pāpārangi, Ngāti Rangi, Ngāti Tūwharetoa) says the organisation is honouring Te Tiriti o Waitangi by using the language.

"We are on a journey and changes are incremental. We want to reflect our unique bicultural identity and are embracing the opportunity to support the revitalisation of te reo Māori. While we are still building our internal capacity to do this, MetService runs initiatives that reflect this goal."

Te reo Māori use has increasingly been put in the spotlight - with New Zealanders standing on either side of the move.

TVNZ1's Te Rauhiringa Brown received backlash in Facebook comments about her integration of Māori into a weather bulletin last month.

The weather presenter took over from colleague Renee Wright who was on maternity leave and delivered the bulletin using English and Māori place names. For example, she said Auckland and Tāmaki Makaurau to introduce the city's weather.

Some Kiwis said while they supported the use of te reo, the 6pm news was not an appropriate time to do so.

Others said: "I want to know what is happening with the weather over my country. Not get a Māori language lesson. If you want to provide the weather in te reo then do so on one of the Māori channels."

Whittaker's chocolate recently launched its "Miraka Kirīmi" edition of chocolate bars in place of its usual "Creamy milk" option. The move also aligned with Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori and divided national opinion.

Public Interest Journalism, funded through NZ On Air