In the lead-up to Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori, Māori Language Week, from 11 to 17 September, Four Square is embracing this important kaupapa and encouraging New Zealanders to speak te reo.
At Four Square Tokomaru Bay, the team embraces te reo Māori as a part of their korero every day of the year.
“As part of the biggest te reo Māori speaking region in the country, Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori is an important kaupapa for our community, and our team at Four Square Tokomaru Bay is supporting and encouraging customers to speak te reo whenever the opportunity presents itself,” said store owner, Mike Turney.
“Te reo Māori is a huge part of the community’s identity and culture.”
Turney continued that it’s essential that when anyone comes into the store, it feels like theirs, and they know te reo is part of the store’s culture.
From the signage on the aisles in the store to their team values and Facebook posts, te reo Māori is woven into every aspect of Four Square Tokomaru Bay.
Iwiata, a loyal customer at Four Square Tokomaru Bay, said te reo Māori is a taonga.
“The language is a treasure that should be used. Otherwise, it will diminish and be lost,” said Iwiata.
“We use it here in the store and on the streets in Tokomaru.”
Turney encourages his team members to greet customers in Māori and use it in their interactions whenever possible, explaining that when speaking te reo, the team connects with customers and the community, which is what the store is all about.
“We’re a little bit different in that Māori language week is every week in our store.”
As part of Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori, Turney and his team encourage customers to try out Four Square’s Rārangi Kai shopping list translator, a web tool that translates shopping list items into te reo Māori.
“We’re excited about the launch, and we’ve been having a lot of fun with the [Four Square] Rārangi Kai shopping list translator with our customers and team.”
Turney described it as a fun and helpful way to learn te reo Māori while shopping in-store.
To use the web tool, customers can head to the Rārangi Kai shopping list translator, click the ‘+’ icon at the bottom of the page, select their shopping list items, and then select the tick to translate them into te reo Māori. Rārangi Kai is available year-round, not just during Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori. It features audio to help with pronunciation, and you can even tick your shopping list items off as you do your shop and translate them back to English if you’ve forgotten a word.
Turney has been brushing up on his te reo Māori since recently taking the reins of the store and learning various phrases and words to sprinkle into the conversation. Rārangi Kai means ‘menu’.
Many te reo Māori speakers work at Four Square Tokomaru Bay, from beginners like Mike to one of his team members, Supermarket Assistant Iwiata, who is fluent. Iwiata attends the local high school and works at the store part-time, enjoying the opportunity to teach her teammates and chat fluently with many of their customers.
Iwiata, a Supermarket Assistant at Four Square Tokomaru Bay, said the bay was beautiful, with the people being the best part.
“We look out for each other like family, and we can speak daily,” said Iwiata.
“We greet our customers who enter the store in te reo Māori and chat about all sorts. I encourage them to speak te reo whenever I can.”
Susie, Supermarket Assistant at Four Square Tokomaru Bay, greets everyone with a friendly Kia ora and enjoys learning more.
“I enjoy talking to the tamariki that come into the shop, and they teach me,” Susie said.
“As a learner, what better place to further my te reo Māori than here at Four Square Tokomaru Bay.”
Turney concluded that the team and store were proud of the language and where it comes from and that it was great to be able to Korero and share the store’s enthusiasm for it within the Tokomaru Bay team and community.