Air New Zealand adds Maori to inflight and check-in options

September 10, 2019
Air New Zealand Maori
IFE Maori style. Image: Air New Zealand.

Difficulties comprehending Air New Zealand’s inflight entertainment may not be because you’ve been indulging in too many of the airline’s fine Kiwi wines.

You may instead be using the te reo Maori language option now added to its bag drops and check-in kiosks and being rolled out on its inflight entertainment system (IFE).

The inflight roll-out has started on the airline’s A321 and A320 neo aircraft and should also be available on its Boeing 777 and 787 fleets from the end of the year.

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Air New Zealand cultural development manager Henare Johnson said the airline had been working closely with its digital team and translators to make te reo available on its check-in and bag drop kiosks as well as inflight content.

“We have already introduced some Māori content into our IFE, including bilingual answers on our domestic inflight quiz,’’ Johnson said, noting it was “great to introduce te reo as a language option”.

“As New Zealand’s national airline we recognize Maori culture is an important part of our country’s identity and are focussed on further weaving it into our organization and our customer experience.”

The introduction of to reo Maori is one of a number of initiatives Air New Zealand, which uses the signature Koru Motif in its branding,  has taken in recent years to promote recognition of indigenous culture.

They include a mobile app to help employees engage in Maori culture and use the language and an internship program to promote and encourage young people into corporate careers.

In September, the carrier bowed to pressure to relax a long-standing ban on visible tattoos to allow staff to display their non-offensive ink at work.

Tattoos have deep cultural significance to New Zealand’s Maori population and the AirNZ policy meant people with visible markings were unable to take up frontline positions.