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Air NZ praised for speaking Māori to 'racist' woman

Newshub logoNewshub 27/11/2019 Daniel Rutledge
a screenshot of a social media post: Watch: The Air NZ Safety video and discussion of it on The AM Show. © Photo - Facebook; Video - The AM Show Watch: The Air NZ Safety video and discussion of it on The AM Show.

Air New Zealand is being celebrated for speaking Te Reo Māori to a woman who appeared to take offence at use of the language.

Her responses are being labelled "racist" online. 

On a public Facebook post, the Aotearoa-based woman asked a question about Air NZ's premium lounges, before the company replied in English but started the comment with "kia ora".

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Replying, the woman said: "Hello… I'm not Māori".

Air NZ clapped back with further information for her, including another phrase in Te Reo.

"I'm still not Māori. What's the English translation of that?" she replied.

The next comment came from a helpful Facebook user with a link to the online Māori dictionary, which offers free translation between the two official languages of New Zealand. 

Air NZ then used Te Reo yet again in its third response to the woman, while supplying more information about the upgrades to its premium lounges.

Other social media users took screenshots of the conversation and made new posts with them, heaping praise on the national carrier for its responses.

"Air New Zealand you win!" one of the Facebook posts is captioned.

"Air New Zealand you are the BOMB airline!" said another before using the Māori version of the woman's first name.

a screenshot of a cell phone © Provided by Newshub

"Amazing interaction between Air NZ and a racist lady," proclaimed a tweet.

The original post and comments appear to have been deleted, but the woman's Facebook page is publicly accessible and contains many posts about race.

In one, she suggested a fake story about removing the Holocaust from UK school curriculums because it "offended Muslims" was similar to what was happening in to colonial Pakeha history of Aotearoa.

a screenshot of a cell phone © Provided by Newshub "Similar to what's happening to history in NZ," said the woman, who Facebook has chosen not to name.

"I'm not comparing the atrocities against Jews with NZ, but the 'forgetting' or re-writing of history because someone takes offence."

In other posts, the woman has argued that human-caused climate change isn't real, that Māori are not the indigenous people of Aotearoa and expressed a desire to remove Jacinda Ardern from power and have Australian prime minister Scott Morrison rule New Zealand.

Air NZ and the woman have both been approached by Newshub for comment.

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