Should ‘kia ora’ be NZ’s national greeting?

According to 3 News:

Should ‘kia ora’ be New Zealand’s national greeting?

Maori Tourism executive Butch Bradley thinks so, and is asking councils to push the greeting, which he says denotes the personality of New Zealand and its people.

Bradley told Radio New Zealand that Kiwis will say ‘bula’ in Fiji, but won’t say ‘kia ora’ when they return home – which he thinks is “nuts”.

The kia ora brand is spreading and Bradley notes that the New Zealand Olympic team had ‘kia ora’ spread across their shirts.

I don’t mind if it’s used by whoever wants to use it as a greeting, and in the tourism industry it’s probably a good idea for some – but even then it’s not only Maori culture that attracts tourists to New Zealand, there’s a lot more to the country than that now.

‘Kia Ora’  doesn’t denote my personality, that’s not dissing the Maori version but that’s simply not me. It’s not what I’d naturally use to greet someone – I usually use ‘Hi’ but also use alternative greetings.

Why do we have to have a ‘national greeting’. We are multilingual, and each language has it’s own variants.

If ‘kia ora’ became widely used it is quite likely it would become corrupted as many English phrases are. For example, ‘Kiora’ flows more easily.

From Wikipedia:

Kia ora is a Māori language greeting which has entered New Zealand English.

It means literally “be well/healthy” and is translated as an informal “hi” at the Māori Language Commission website Kōrero Māori.[1]

The New Zealand Ministry for Culture and Heritage website NZ History lists it as one of 100 Māori words every New Zealander should know, with a definition “Hi!, G’day! (general informal greeting)”

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1 Comment

  1. Darryl

     /  13th September 2012



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