Vodafone supports Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei in its Aotearoa oha challenge
Digital services provider joins kaupapa to further embed te reo Māori
As part of Vodafone New Zealand’s journey to strengthen connections to New Zealand and embrace te reo Māori across the organisation, the digital services company has accepted Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei’s invitation to support the oha (promise) to use the name Aotearoa more frequently both internally and externally.
This comes after Vodafone New Zealand recently changed its network carrier banner to ‘VF Aotearoa’ across its almost three million mobile connections, as part of the company’s activities to follow on from Te Wiki o te Reo Māori and as a public way to demonstrate its support for this oha within Mahuru Māori.
This highlights the company’s commitment to embracing te reo Māori, and follows other network carrier banner changes as the mobile operator has helped Kiwis stay connected during Aotearoa’s response to Covid-19. At the start of lockdown in March, the company changed this banner to ‘VF - Stay Safe’ and then ‘VF - Stay Kind’ as the country’s alert levels changed, before now moving to ‘VF Aotearoa’.
Kirstin Te Wao, Head of Māori Development, says: “Following its acquisition by Infratil and Brookfield last year Vodafone New Zealand is now more New Zealand-owned and is on a journey to strengthen our connection with Aotearoa, so better understanding and demonstrating Māori values, language and practise is a key part of this haerenga (journey).
“The invitation from Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei to support this oha was a welcome challenge and is a natural fit with our goal to be the digital partner of choice for Māori and the Māori business sector. It provided us with an opportunity to demonstrate our commitment to honouring the principles of Te Tiriti o Waitangi, a policy we announced during Matariki this year.”
Since seeding the challenge for Vodafone NZ staff to increase their use of Aotearoa, initiatives have included:
- Incorporating Aotearoa within the company’s organisational purpose to “create a better future for Aotearoa New Zealand”
- For the first time, our Vodafone NZ Sustainable Business Report 2020 is inclusive of Te Reo Māori throughout the document with a balanced use of Aotearoa and New Zealand
- Social media teams are using te reo Māori more in online communications
- Our Business teams are integrating Aotearoa into their customer and RFP responses
Te Wao adds: “Along with announcing our policy to honour the principles of Te Tiriti o Waitangi, we also shared our five year Māori development plan, which we've named Whārikihia. This looks to weave Vodafone and Aotearoa closer together at an organisational level, rather than taking a segmented approach in our products.
“In the first year of our plan we're focusing on uplifting our organisational culture, capability and reputation so again - supporting the oha to embrace Aotearoa is a natural fit.
“We have 25 team members undergoing a full-year Te Ara Reo Māori course, which is being delivered by Te Wānanga o Aotearoa. Additionally, 12 of our senior leaders, including members of our Executive team are participating in Te Kaa, a cultural capability program run by Precious Clark of Ngāti Whātua, which looks to positively connect 10,000 people across Aotearoa to the Māori culture.”
“We encourage all businesses operating in Aotearoa to support this kaupapa. It’s a simple yet powerful step forward to creating an Aotearoa where our bi-cultural history is acknowledged, celebrated and valued in today’s multi-cultural society.”
Commenting on the initiative, Te Kurataiaho Kapea, General Manager Culture Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei Whai Māia and te reo Māori expert says he is excited Vodafone is joining this oha.
“The word oha can be described as a gift, in abundance and generosity. We are asking Aotearoa to use the gift of te reo Māori, and be generous with it to spread it near and far - so we’re very pleased Vodafone is one of the first businesses to support this oha.”
For more information about Vodafone NZ’s mission to create a better Aotearoa, please visit www.vodafone.co.nz/community