'It's about shifting mindsets' - Vodafone Aotearoa stands firm on Māori name change

Source: 1News

Vodafone NZ have a stern message for anyone against their Māori name change - get used to it because it's going nowhere.

Kirstin Te Wao, head of Māori development for Vodafone NZ, told TVNZ1's Te Karere the company is "looking to strengthen our connection to Aotearoa" with the change to its network name.

"With that comes a commitment to Te Ao Māori [the Māori world].

"It's about shifting mindsets and changing mindsets and if individuals are not on board with that, that's their kaupapa [issue]."

The telecommunications company went viral on social media after their Twitter account responded to an angry customer who wrote in a now-deleted tweet they "don't appreciate" the network name changing from VF New Zealand to VF Aotearoa.

"My country is called New Zealand," the customer said.

"I don't want it on my phone. Change it now or else I'll switch providers."

Vodafone's social media team tweeted back the recent network name change was nothing more than to "simply to celebrate one of the three beautiful official languages we have here in New Zealand/Aotearoa".

"There are no plans to change it at this stage," the company added.

Te Wao said Vodafone Aotearoa are strong on their stance towards the change and congratulated her colleagues for how they handled the situation.

"Our team do an amazing job."

After Vodafone tweeted their response, some of New Zealand's other telecommunications companies jumped on board to show their support too.

"We here at Spark also celebrate Māori Language Week and have a dedicated app Kupu to help people learn Te Reo," Spark tweeted.

"We see this as a celebration of culture, a chance for education and acceptance of both those in our community and inside our workplace."

When one customer tried to tell Spark Māori Language Week was now over and asked if things could go back to "normal", Spark responded saying "Te Reo is a normal part of our country".

2 Degrees also defended Vodafone's actions, telling the original tweeter with an issue "better not switch to us. We love celebrating Te Reo Māori too".

Te Wao said it was incredible to see other companies come on board and support them.

"I've had a long-term view that in the right scenario - and this is the right scenario - that kaupapa [initiative] beats competition.

"For Vodafone, Spark and 2 Degrees to come together under this kaupapa [initiative] shows Aotearoa how important it is for us as an industry who keep people connected."