"Asked to provide the name of the account by the female teller, she answered "Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Otepoti".
"She just laughed. And then she got her manager and said, 'Come and listen to this'," Miss Amiria Stirling said.
She repeated "Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Otepoti" to the pair, and then a nearby cafe worker was invited by the bank staff to listen as she repeated the school's name for a third time.
To add further insult, when asked her surname to complete the transaction, she was told it "was much better" to understand, before being farewelled with "kakariki", which translates to "green", as she left the building.This is just appaling - I am going to give them a point for attempting to say goodbye in te reo because at least they tried. And it is fair to say that the first time you hear Otepoti (awe-tay-paw-tee) it can sound a little funny to uneducated ears - but still that is no reason to insult the woman. These people never considered that their actions were hurtful, it just didn't enter their head. Are they racist? No more than many others, certainly they are culturally insenstive and I hope they feel ashamed and tidy up their act, but I suspect they may be going, "What is the problem", "I have lots of maori friends", "People are just too PC and oversenstive", "It was just a bit of fun".
Anyway, what has been the result so far
"Miss Stirling said she was stunned by the incident and, after consultation, decided to write letters of complaint to the bank and members of Parliament, stating, "Our school chose Kiwibank because it's a bank for everyone.
"A founding belief of our school is that all languages and cultures are precious. All languages and cultures should be uplifted and celebrated, never laughed at."
The letter finished with an open invitation for branch staff to come to the school, which has a roll of 10, and to participate in free Te Reo Maori lessons.
Miss Stirling said the incident would serve as a lesson for the schoolchildren on conflict resolution, and the school was likely to continue using the branch in the future.
I would be very happy for Miss Amiria Stirling to teach my son - a brilliant example of mana and how to make lemonade from a couple of lemons. Thank you Amiria for this lesson.
Hat tip - Halfdone