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Auckland Billboard Offensive To The Maori Language

Press Release

Thursday March 27 2008

Auckland Billboard Offensive To The Maori Language

An Auckland billboard currently positioned at the bottom of Parnell Rise has been deemed highly offensive in its use of the Maori language by Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Maori - the Maori Language Commission.

The billboard says: 'Rent a car from only $25.00 a day. So you can visit any whaka'. The billboard is a promotional advertisement for Auckland-based car rental company Ace Rental Cars.

If the copy of this advertisement was entirely in English, it would breach advertising standards.

Chief Executive of Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Maori (Maori Language Commission) Huhana Rokx says: "Ace Rental Cars are inappropriately using te reo Maori to circumvent these standards. Their use of te reo Maori in this instance therefore reflects their double standard."

In a response to TVNZ's Te Karere news programme, Ace Rental Cars states that the billboard is aimed at tourists, their biggest customers.

"Te Taura Whiri finds this to be an unacceptable explanation and is aghast at the thought that Ace Rental Cars thinks it is okay to not only have a double standard but blatantly promote it through their advertising," says Ms Rokx.

"Clearly the presence of this billboard proves that in some sectors of New Zealand society, ignorance and lack of regard for Maori language persists, and while we have come a long way, the struggle continues," says Ms Rokx.

ENDS

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