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Slingshot makes Te Reo Maori important part of customer experience

Slingshot, the internet service provider, has made a note of recruiting Te Reo speaking support staff in order to offer customer service in Te Reo Maori.

The company has also translated its website and key help articles into the language, as part of a broader drive to incorporate Maori language and culture into business as usual activities.

Slingshot chief executive Taryn Hamilton says, “Maori is one of the three official languages of New Zealand, it just makes sense that our customers should be able to speak to our customer service representatives in Te Reo if they choose to.”

While noting that Maori Language Week is presently underway, Hamilton says Slingshot is committed to embedding Te Reo and Te Ao Maori (the Maori word view) into the business and offering support in Te Reo year-round.

The website translations are being handled by Te Mete Lowman, who is from Te Arawa Waka from Waiariki (The Bay of Plenty).

Currently recruiting for Technical Representatives fluent in Te Reo, Slingshot will offer full customer service and technical support over the phone and email by the end of November 2020, the company states.

The company has also engaged consultancy Mokokoko for further guidance. Led by Bernie O’Donnell from with Te Atiawa, Ngati Mutunga, Ngaruahine and Ngai Tahu tribal affiliations, the consultancy provides leadership and advice on Te Reo Maori me ona Tikanga (Maori language and culture) across business functions including the application of the Treaty of Waitangi in a modern context.

O’Donnell says, “Te Reo Maori is a living language and a unique component of New Zealand's culture. We need to take the language beyond our traditional spaces and into households and our everyday lives.

"We achieve this by weaving it into organisations, schools, companies and individuals. By engaging with new communities and forward-looking partners like Slingshot, we’re keeping the language alive by growing knowledge and use across Aotearoa.”

Hamilton says that Slingshot is taking a long-term approach to embracing Te Reo.

He says, "Using the language on our website, in official communications and in customer interactions is just the start as we confirm our commitment and desire to be part of the journey acknowledging the Maori world view.

"By incorporating it into the company positively and respectfully, we hope to play our part in revitalising Maori in the New Zealand business landscape."

O’Donnell says this reflects Slingshot’s entry into Te Ao Maori. He says, “It is a very humble, but powerful message to language stakeholders. It is a reflection on the values which are important to the company.”