“Kia Ora!”

In 1984, at a time when the use of Māori phrases was uncommon in New Zealand, Dame Rangimārie Naida (Povey) Glavish, who was then an Auckland telephone operator, was instructed to stop using Kia Ora when greeting callers.  Although she had been working in tolls in Te Awaroa, Helensville, for ten years and been saying ‘Kia Ora’ without any problems, it was a move to Auckland tolls in Airedale Street that nearly cost her job.

Told to use only English by her supervisor she refused to back down, and was subsequently demoted, with the whole affair attracting much interest.  She was later given back her original job after involvement from both the Prime Minister, Sir Robert Muldoon and the Postmaster-General, Rob Talbot.

Dame Naida won widespread public support for her courageous stand, which led to a new willingness to use Te Reo in the public domain.

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