‘Hello, death’: Coca-Cola mixes English and Māori on vending machine
The company’s attempt to combine English and New Zealand’s indigenous language backfired.
Coca-Cola’s attempts to combine te reo Māori and English has backfired badly, with the company inadvertently writing “Hello, Death” on a vending machine in New Zealand stocked full of the drink.
Te reo Māori, the language of New Zealand’s indigenous people has been undergoing a revival and big business has taken note.
Google has launched a Māori version of its website, Google Maps is recording more accurate Māori pronunciations, and Disney has released a Māori version of the hit Polynesian film Moana.
The English use of mate is common in New Zealand and used as a term of endearment and greeting by friends and strangers alike.
But in te reo Mate means death – as evidenced by the famous haka Ka Mate – and social media users in New Zealand have suggested the slip-up was a rare moment of honesty from a global giant selling sugary drinks.
“The coca cola company gains self awareness?” asked one Twitter user.
“Totally spot on it does mean death for a lot of Indigenous people” replied another.
New Zealand has one of the highest rates of obesity in the developed world with one in three adult New Zealanders classified as obese.
According to statistics New Zealand 50% of Māori adults are obese, as well as 18% of Māori children.
Coca-Cola New Zealand had no comment.