For almost 180 years, New Zealand Post has been delivering Christmas to New Zealanders but now tamariki can write to Santa in Te Reo and receive a response from Santa in Te Reo.
Sarah Sandoval, general manager of consumer marketing and brand at New Zealand Post, says Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori sparked the growth and interest in writing to Santa in Te Reo three years ago.
“New Zealand Post is looking for ways in which we could bring Te Reo into everyday language. We thought it was kapai,” she says.
Santa receives between 70,000 and 80,000 letters each year, with 2,000 letters written in Te Reo Māori. This year, New Zealand Post has extended invites to Māori immersion schools to participate in the initiative.
“One of the ways we thought that that would be possible is by inviting some of our teachers that are teaching in Māori immersion language, levels one to five. They can jump on our website and request a bulk response to their kids if they want to run a programme.”
Sandoval says some children write to Santa asking for a cure for Covid-19, and says she will be writing to Santa to ask "to see my mum this Christmas, she's outside of Auckland. So that could be what I’m after.”
The most popular items children request are remote control vehicles, unicorns and books.
Sandoval says the easiest way to write to Santa is through the website: nzpost.co.nz/writetosanta
“There you can write to Santa but you can also jump on Santa’s homepage, play some games, check out his email. So it's a really, really great fun website for tamariki.”
Sandoval advises visitors to visit the website by November 22 to obtain a response from Santa.
“But don't panic if you do miss that deadline, then Santa will send an email response right up until December 22.
"If you are a teacher though, your date deadlines are a little bit earlier. So jump on before November 15,” she says.