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last updated 10/06/2018

McDonald's embraces Te Reo

last updated 10/06/2018

23 May 2018 – A McDonald's in Hawkes Bay has become the first in New Zealand to offer customers a menu in both English and Te Reo. Will more follow?

The menu card offers some of McDonald's most popular items in Te Reo.

Following a viral video showing a Hastings crew member speaking Māori to customers last year, a selection of McDonald’s best-loved items has been translated on to a menu card for customers who choose to use the Māori names when ordering. Crew in the Hastings franchise – 60 percent of whom identify as Māori ­– are practising their pronunciation skills.

‘Some of them were a wee bit nervous but I hear in the staff room - we have menus in there - people are trying to get their pronunciation right and there's giggles and laughter but everyone is actively trying to do their bit to make it work,’ operations manager Carmel Berghan told Māori Television.

On the Te Reo menu card, a Big Mac is Makanui, a McChicken is Pākīheihei and a Quarter Pounder is a Koata Pauna. Some signage has also been made bilingual.

The Hastings McDonald's is operated by franchisees Marcus and Lynette Pohio, who also own the McDonald’s in Napier, Havelock North and Taradale. Marcus worked for McDonald’s before becoming a franchisee in the early 2000s. The couple were approached by Ngati Kahaungunu to develop the menu and signage following the interest last year in a video which showed Hastings staff member Jershon Tatana talking to customers in Te Reo, which was credited with encouraging others to start placing their orders in Māori.

The Pohios plan to roll out the menus in their other restaurants in Hawkes Bay. Will it go further? Simon Kenny, Head of Communications for McDonald’s, told Franchise New Zealand: ‘It’s definitely something that seems to have resonated, and other franchisees have been interested in it. If we were to extend it we’d just need to make sure we did it sensitively and followed correct protocols, and did everything the right way. It’s a good example of a local franchisee working with people in the community and coming up with something that could be scaled to the rest of the business.’

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