Air New Zealand Hits Back at Racist Online Comment

By David Hopwood | November 28, 2019

A social media comment has fuelled a fire between an Air New Zealand social media representative and a customer query.

A passenger wrote on Air New Zealand’s Facebook group about the ongoing renovations at Wellington’s Koru Lounge.

“When will the refurbished Wellington domestic Koru Club lounge be opened. It’s been out of action for months now,” she asked.

Air New Zealand replied with an innocent comment saying

“Kia ora (name redacted), our team are working hard to finish our amazing lounge for customers. We hope to have more information regarding this shortly.” It was signed off by someone with the initials “FC”.

Kia Ora is a greeting in New Zealand’s native language, Māori, which is commonly used throughout day to day communication in businesses to promote and sustain the native language. The customer though, did not seem happy with the response with them replying…

“Hello FC (I’m not maori), any likelihood it will be open by mid-December?”

Air NZ: “We do not expect this lounge to be re-opened within 2019. However, taihoa koe ka kite all the amazing improvements we have made, FC.”

The responses have been very positive towards Air NZ’s comments with the majority of people praising them, or criticising the passenger for their comments.

Passenger: “Air New Zealand I’m still not maori. What’s the English translation of that?”

A helpful commentator posted a link to a Māori dictionary.

Air NZ Staff perform a Haka (A ceremonial dance or challenge in Māori culture) |© TVNZ

Air NZ: “We’ve done a bit of digging for you, (name redacted), and it looks like the lounge will be open just before Kirihimete! We can’t wait to open the doors again, then you’ll get to see all the amazing improvements we’ve made, SM.” They added a Christmas emoji too.

The continued use of the native language throughout these hit backs at the customer has set an example for what the airline stands for. Air New Zealand is committed to sustaining the culture of New Zealand as part of their sustainability goals.

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 comparable to what was happening to colonial Pākehā history in Aotearoa.

What do you think about Air NZ’s responses? Let us know in the comments!


Leave your comment